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Two South African soldiers killed, three injured in DR Congo

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Two South African soldiers were killed and three wounded by a mortar bomb that landed inside a military base in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The deaths mark the first fatalities for South Africa since it began to deploy 2,900 soldiers in eastern DR Congo in mid-December.

Defence Minister Thandi Modise sent her condolences to the families of the deceased soldiers, also wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

The South African military said an investigation of the incident is underway to determine what happened.

The South African soldiers are part of a southern African regional force tasked with helping DR Congo government forces fight M23 rebels. South Africa’s decision to contribute troops has proved controversial at home. The leading opposition party called it “reckless”.

Earlier this week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) alleged that the South African troops lack adequate air support and would be “sitting ducks” fighting rebels on unfamiliar terrain.

“It is heartbreaking,” the DA’s shadow defence minister told AFP on Thursday, commenting on the casualties. “That war and conflict has little or no relevance to our national security … The government, the commander in chief, and the minister who authorised this must carry the consequences.”


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