Elections and the impending closure of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) do not appear to have affected planning by troop contributing countries (TCCs), with South Africa’s commitment seeing a rotation of its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) contribution this month (December).
Back from its MONUSCO tour of duty is Mafeking based 10 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion, to be replaced by 14 SAI from Mthatha. Also on the rotation list is Tactical Intelligence Unit (TIU) III with sister unit IV from the SA Army Intelligence Formation taking its place.
The rotation saw 10 SAI at the Joint Mobilisation and Demobilisation Headquarters at De Brug in the Free State province earlier this month being welcomed home. This had an added plus in the form of the Goodwill Project. This project sees all SA National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel deployed continentally and locally – and their families – being gifted with food and necessity hampers at year-end.
14 SAI moves to the DRC as a well-trained entity having undergone final combat readiness and specialist jungle training in the Limpopo province at Phalaborwa and Entabeni. Final preparations were at the De Brug centre where, among others, UN personnel saw the new rotation through pre-deployment verification ahead of flights to the central African country.
DRC voters go to the polls tomorrow (Wednesday, 20 December) to elect a president with incumbent Felix Tshisekedi seeking a second – and final – five-year term of office.
The withdrawal of the 13-year-old MONUSCO peacekeeping mission starts in earnest on 1 January in South Kivu. defenceWeb was informed the planning will see the exit of MONUSCO troops and police from the province by 30 April and closure of 14 bases.