The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has confirmed news buzzing around the town that a military convoy moving to an exchange point between the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and Rwandese Battalions was ambushed on Wednesday night.
The military convoy was providing security escort for humanitarian aid trucks in northern Darfur, Sudan.
This attack led to the death of one soldier while another sustained injuries. The military also confirmed in a statement that the attack was unleashed at approximately 20h00.
“This was a routine security escort to protect the movement of World Food Programme (WFP) trucks to a pre-determined destination. In this instance‚ the SANDF battalion were to escort the convoy to a point where it was to be taken over by the Rwandese battalion.
“The convoy came under fire 25km away from the exchange point and was able to hold ground and protect the WFP trucks‚” the SANDF said.
“During the exchange of fire‚ unfortunately one member of the SANDF was fatally wounded whilst another was wounded.”
SANDF also stated that the wounded member, whose name is yet to be released was medically evacuated to EL Fashir to receive medical treatment. And that he is in a stable condition.”
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports said that the convoy was attacked by five “technicals” (utility vehicles with pintle-mounted machine guns on the load area).
A quick response force was dispatched from the UNAMID base at Kutum and support was requested from the Rwanda battalion at Kabkabiya.
That notwithstanding, report says the South African contingent is apparently safe after the incidence.
From home, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula together with SANDF chief General Solly Shoke sent their condolences to the family and friends of the soldier who lost his life while on duty.
The duo also wished the injured soldier a speedy recovery. SA’s chief of joint operations Lieutenant General Duma Mdutyana also expressed condolences to the families of the fallen hero.
On Wednesday, SANDF dismissed reports that it would send troops to Nigeria to help fight Boko Haram.
African news website Daily Nation had earlier reported that President Jacob Zuma arrived in Nigeria to “seal a deal” on the deployment of South African special forces to fight the Islamic extremist group- Boko Haram.
Members of the SANDF were employed in Darfur in 2008 as part of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The force has played great roles in helping the mission’s forerunner –African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).
On 27 September 2015, an 8 South African Infantry Battalion soldier lost his life in an ambush in Darfur while escorting a UNAMID logistics convoy.
Last month, President Jacob Zuma announced his decision to withdraw the 800-odd South African National Defence Force troops who have been participating in Unamid.
He stated that SANDF soldiers in Darfur will be withdrawn on the 1st of April.
Zuma gave no reason for his decision. However, he expressed happiness that peace has been restored in Darfur.