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SANDF address concerns over the Ebola threat to South Africa

SANDF address concerns over the Ebola threat to South Africa

South African National Defense Force Soldiers conduct a near ambush on U.S. Army and fellow SANDF personnel while acting as opposition forces, part of Shared Accord 13 July 26 near Alicedale, South Africa. Shared Accord is a biennial training exercise designed to increase capacity and enhance interoperability across the South African and U.S. militaries / Image via Flickr: US Army Africa The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have moved to calm fears about sending their soldiers to and from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after the country reported yet another outbreak of Ebola. It’s understood that some 2 000 troops are currently representing SANDF in the country, as part of a UN peacekeeping mission. Last month, 800 soldiers were replaced with another 800 as the battalion rotated back home . However, the last four weeks have seen the return of a deadly disease that claimed hundreds of lives just a few years ago. Borders closed to DR Congo Rwanda has shut its frontier with Ebola-hit DRC after a third case of the deadly virus was detected in the border city of Goma, the Congolese presidency said Thursday. In a statement, it said there had been a “unilateral decision by the Rwandan authorities” that affected citizens from both countries who had to cross the border as part of their daily life. Goma, a city of two million people and a major transport hub, shares the border with the Rwandan city of Gisenyi, which has a population of more than 85,000. Ebola threat to South Africa So with one nation taking such firm, decisive action, could South Africa follow suit? Murmurs of discontent had been doing the rounds on Thursday, following the recent return of soldiers from DR Congo to Mzansi. But according to SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini, any concerns about the disease affecting our soldiers are not valid: “There is absolutely no cause for concern. Our troops are well looked after in the DRC and are attended to by a top medical team. There is no danger of serving soldiers bringing Ebola back to South Africa. We won’t comment on whether we will ban travel to and from DR Congo at this present time. The Health Department will decide that.” No action on Ebola in DR Congo… yet We made several inquiries to the Health Department and learned that there is currently no directive in place to stop the flow of travel between South Africa and the DRC. However, this could be subject to change at a later date. The South African soldiers in DR Congo carry out a wide range of duties, including base protection, offensive patrols, high visibility deterrence patrols, escorting humanitarian missions and combat search . Soldiers also have to battle the environment (they go for months of jungle warfare training before deployment) and of course, disease.

SANDF address concerns over the Ebola threat to South Africa

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