A South African soldier has died in a rebel attack in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), says SANDF.
The yet-to-be-revealed soldier died on Monday in a gunfight that erupted when members of the Mayi Mayi and Allied Democratic Forces groups attacked the SANDF position near Butembu around 6.30am.
The soldier was part of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Congo. The attack also saw another South African National Defence Force soldier critically wounded while another soldier sustained minor injuries.
BuzzSouthAfrica learned that the critically wounded have since been evacuated to the hospital in Goma.
SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga said in the course of the fiery attack, four rebels, and a policeman were gunned down.
“… after a lengthy stand-off the attackers fled and during a consolidation of the scene it was established that four Mayi Mayi rebels were killed and two captured.” The particulars of the dead soldier would be released once next-of-kin had been informed,” Mabanga added.
A local activist, Fabrice Kakubuzi, told reporters: “Since this morning, there have been incursions by the Mai Mai (militia). They wanted to liberate prisoners at the central prison. They want to take advantage of the day to liberate prisoners.”
The attacks came amid heightened tensions as Congo President Joseph Kabila’s last term in office ends. Since her independence in 1960, Congo has not witnessed a peaceful transfer of power.
The SANDF spokesperson promised to release the name of the fallen hero once the force discloses the death to his family members.
In their separate statements, Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula‚ secretary for defence Sam Gulube and SANDF chief General Solly Shoke expressed their heartfelt condolences to the family‚ friends‚ colleagues and comrades of the deceased.
They also wished the injured soldiers a speedy recovery.