DRC: Names known of SA’s dead soldiers; USA condemns violence

Henry

The names of the two South African soldiers who died this week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been released by the South African National Army (SANW).

RNews earlier reported that a mortar bomb in the east of the DRC claimed the lives of two army members on Wednesday, when it landed inside one of the army bases. These are the first recorded deaths since South African troops were deployed to eastern DRC in December as part of the SADC mission, called SAMIDRC, to fight the M23 rebel group.

The deceased were identified by the SANW as Capt. Simon Mkhulu Bobe and Cpl. Irven Thabang Semono. Both soldiers were attached to 1 SA Infantry Battalion and were deployed with 2 SA Infantry Battalion at the time of their deaths.

According to the SANW, information about mourning services and funerals for the dead soldiers will be made public at a later stage. The three soldiers who were injured during the incident are still being treated in hospital.

The US strongly condemned the increasing violence by M23 rebels on Saturday. Fighting has flared up in recent days around the town of Sake, 20 km from Goma, between M23 rebels and Congolese government forces.

“This escalation has increased the risk to millions of people… We call on M23 to immediately cease hostilities and withdraw from its current positions around Sake and Goma,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement. statement said.

America also condemned Rwanda’s alleged support for M23 and called on the country’s government “to immediately withdraw all Rwandan military personnel from the DRC and remove its surface-to-air missile systems, which endanger the lives of civilians, UN- forces and other regional peacekeeping forces”.

Dozens of soldiers and civilians are believed to have been killed or wounded in the fighting over the past ten days.

The latest violence has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee to Goma, which stands between Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border and is virtually cut off from the country’s interior.

The DRC, the United Nations and Western countries say Rwanda supports the rebels in an attempt to control large mineral resources, a claim the Rwandan government denies.

UN forces have been in the DRC for nearly 25 years, but are accused of failing to protect civilians from armed groups.