SANDF to commence with training of second battalion in April

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pretoria - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will commence with the training of the second battalion in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in April this year.

The training, forms part of the SANDF's efforts to successfully integrate and train former rebel forces to become part of the Congolese National Defence Force.

Making the announcement on Friday, Chief Director Operations Rear Admiral Philip Schoultz said during the second round they expect to have over 1000 former rebels that will receive training.

He said currently there were 1500 SANDF troops in the DRC on a peace keeping mission.

"The SANDF is in that country as part of the UN peace keeping mission and we will continue to carry out our mandate as stipulated," said Rear Admiral Schoultz.

The training is part of a Defence Cooperation Agreement entered into by the two countries in 2004.

The first agreement paved the way for the countries two ministries to further sign an agreement on Practical Assistance to the government of the DRC.

Last year, the SANDF trained more than 1500 former rebels, who were successfully integrated into the DRC Army.

Upon completion of the training, Defence Minister Charles Nqakula officially handed over the first Rapid Reaction Battalion to the DRC Defence Minister and War Veteran, Chikez Diemu.