SOUTH African soldiers operating as UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo fought and defeated a faction linked to Islamic State (IS).In a statement yesterday, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi of the SANDF confirmed the skirmish, which took place early on Thursday.

The statement read: “The Quick Reaction Force (QRF) from the SANDF was activated when an illegal armed group from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) launched an attack on a base in Ngite, North of Mavivi, belonging to Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC).

“South African peacekeepers on their way to Ngite, North of Mavivi, were ambushed by the ADF, managed to fight their way through and continued to Ngite to reinforce the FARDC.

On arrival, under heavy fire, a ferocious fight ensued.

“The QRF and FARDC fought fiercely and managed to inflict heavy causalities against the ADF. The ADF suffered 23 casualties killed in action and over 14 AK-47s, other weapons and equipment were captured.”

One South African peacekeeper was shot in the right foot. According to Mgobozi, the peacekeeper was treated and is in a stable condition.

He said: “Their deeds of bravery and committed service in pursuance of peace demonstrate that the SANDF soldiers are well equipped for any task and committed to the realisation of stability on the continent.

“The Chief of the SANDF would like to reassure South Africans that their soldiers have regrouped and resumed their mandate as part of the main force tasked by the UN to advance peace and stability in the DRC.”

Mgobozi confirmed that the ADF had links to IS. The fight was also reported by Al Jazeera, a media organisation based in the Middle East.

According to their report, last month the ADF carried out an attack in Bovata, also in the DRC. IS then put out a statement in which it described this attack as its first in the “Central Africa Province” of the “Caliphate” – the name it gave to the area of Syria and Iraq that it controlled for several years from 2014.

According to Al Jazeera, the ADF was formed in western Uganda in 1995 under the leadership of Jamil Mukulu, a Christian-turned-Muslim.

Sunday Tribune