Molefe Seeletsa

Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

SANDF soldier killed in DRC

At least 2 900 SANDF soldiers were deployed to the DRC.

As fighting continues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has confirmed the death of one of its troops.

The soldier died last Thursday, 30 May, amid the SANDF’s battle with M23 rebels in eastern DRC.

“The name of the deceased will be mentioned once the family members have been informed,” the army’s statement reads.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise has since expressed her condolences.

ALSO READ: ‘No turning back’ for peacekeeping troops in DRC – expert

The SANDF member was killed in a clash with M23 rebels in Sake, with 13 others sustaining injuries.

The injured soldiers were evacuated and rushed to Goma Hospital, where they were recuperating.

Two armoured personnel carriers were also damaged during the incident.

According to City Press, the deceased soldier was part of a contingent of medical troops reportedly en route to Goma when M23 rebels fired a mortar at their Mfezi armoured ambulance, resulting in an explosion inside the military vehicle.

Soldier deaths

Three SANDF soldiers have been killed in DRC, including two in February in a mortar attack.

Additionally, two troops were declared dead following an apparent murder and suicide in March.

It is alleged that one soldier shot and killed another with their service weapon before turning the weapon on themselves.

Another soldier also died in hospital while being treated for health problems, according to the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The SANDF previously dismissed reports alleging two soldiers had surrendered to the M23 militia and were held hostage in DRC.

SANDF deployment

At least 2 900 SANDF soldiers were deployed to provide support in combating illicit armed factions in the eastern region of the DRC.

The deployment was authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa to fulfil the country’s obligation towards the SADC mission to the DRC.

According to the Presidency, the year-long and R2 billion deployment would not impact provisions for the cash-strapped SANDF’s regular maintenance and emergency repairs.

There have been calls for the South African army to be withdrawn from the central African country, with opposition, including Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, criticising the deployment for putting troops’ lives at risk.

The DRC has maintained that the Tutsi M23 rebels were backed by Rwanda’s Paul Kagame regime.

NOW READ: SANDF dismisses claims of mineral interests in DR Congo deployment

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