Johannesburg — The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) was “ready to tackle” the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo rebel group M23, its spokesman said on Monday.
“If they [M23] declare war against the SA National Defence Force personnel, we are ready to tackle them. We, as the SANDF, will never be deterred by any circumstances to pursue or do what we are asked to do by the government of South Africa.”
Mabanga said the situation in the eastern DRC was different to that of the South African troops deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR), where 13 soldiers were recently killed.
“We know what is the conflict [in the DRC], whilst we cannot say the same with the situation in the CAR.”
Mabanga would not say how many soldiers would be deployed to the DRC as part of a United Nations intervention force.
Asked if the SANDF was aware of the potential danger of such a deployment, Mabanga replied: “When we joined the SANDF, we said, we are prepared to die and we are prepared to do anything and therefore that is the sacrifice we have done for the nation.
“We are not scared to go to war. We are not scared to anywhere where we are asked to go,” said Mabanga.
Last week, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution which approved the deployment of an intervention force into the eastern DRC.
Several armed groups, including the M23 rebels, are active in the east of the DRC and fighting for control of the country’s vast mineral resources, such as gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and coltan, which is used to make electronic devices, including cell phones, according to an earlier report by the international PressTV.