Oryx hit by small arms fire in DRC


A SA Air Force Oryx was hit by small arms fire in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Monday.

No-one was injured and the helicopter landed safely in Mavivi, Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton of SANDF Joint Operations said.
“Several shots from a small calibre weapon were fired in the direction of an Oryx flying between the towns of Beni and Buria. One bullet hit the fuel tank causing a minor fuel leak. The pilot flew the aircraft out of the danger zone and landed at Mavivi airport near Beni.
“The origin of the gunfire and who is responsible for it is still under investigation by MONUSCO. Nobody was injured in the incident and the aircrew and passengers are all safe,” he said.

The rotary-wing aircraft was part of a routine visit to the fare north-eastern area of the country by MONUSCO Force Commander, Lieutenant General Santos Cruz.

No further details, including whether the three star general was aboard the aircraft, were available at the time of publication. Paxton said more details would be made available as soon as a full report was received from the mission area.

South African airmen, soldiers and medics are deployed in the DRC are part of the MONUSCO peacekeeping mission and the UN FIB (Force Intervention Brigade). The FIB is the first ever UN peacekeeping force given an offensive mandate.