General Solly Shoke, SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief, commended two soldiers for bravery after an “encounter” with rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) earlier this week.
“Two of our members sustained minor injuries. Their bravery during an encounter with rebels is confirmation our soldiers are trained for any task at hand,” Shoke is quoted as saying in a statement issued by the SANDF Directorate: Corporate Communication.
According to the statement SANDF members are “recognised internationally for their bravery and no-nonsense attitude when engaging opposing forces”.
“The C SANDF reiterated that the SANDF is committed to be part of the peace process in the DRC and that our soldiers will continue doing a sterling job under difficult circumstances by protecting innocent citizens in DRC.”
The soldiers are part of South Africa’s troop and materiel deployment to the UN’s largest peace support mission – MONUSCO – and its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). The FIB is a SADC brigade staffed by troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania and is the first unit of its kind in UN peacekeeping history to be given an offensive mandate as part of its tasking to protect civilians.
A reliable source confirmed the injuries were sustained when a South African patrol found itself in an ambush, apparently the third time in two days it came under fire.
Also in the DRC an SA Air Force (SAAF) Oryx medium transport helicopter was earlier this week forced to perform an emergency landing after taking rebel fire. There has, at the time of publication, been no official word from either the SANDF or its Joint Operations Division, on the incident.
defenceWeb has been reliably informed damage to the rotary-winged aircraft was minimal and no-one aboard was hurt in any way. “The aircraft landed safely and was ready to fly following a thorough inspection,” defenceWeb was told.