SANDF wraps up jungle warfare training ahead of DRC deployment

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South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers have wrapped up jungle warfare training in Limpopo ahead of their rotation to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Exercise Matha successfully concluded at the Entabeni Training Area in Thohoyandou on 20 July, Captain NE Ramolula reported for the SANDF.

Exercise Matha is conducted and facilitated by Headquarters 43 South African Brigade and supported by the South African Infantry Formation and other services and divisions in preparation for the 14 South African Infantry (SAI) Battalion Group and Tactical Intelligence Unit deploying to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

14 SAI members went through strenuous jungle warfare training orientation which focuses on special tactics and techniques to orientate members on how to survive under all weather conditions in dense vegetation, the SANDF said.

The training included among others, river crossings, fighting in built up areas, survival in the jungle, swamp training, reaction shooting, helicopter drills, fast roping and house clearing.

“I am certain that you got your bearing right and understand that your failure to grasp what we intend to do with you here will bring immense danger to the man or woman with whom you will be deployed within the battle space, and bring tremendous dishonour to our nation. What you did here will have a direct influence on whether the South African National Defence Force succeeds in the mission our country sends us out to do,” said Exercise Director, Colonel VC Mlondobozi.

The soldiers then proceeded to Bloemfontein for Mission Readiness Training. Before Entabeni, they were at the Ben Viljoen training area for initial training under Exercise Phirima.

10 SAI from Mafikeng is the current South African battalion component of the UN’s MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade (FIB).