African Defence Review

WEEKINAFRICA

12 December 2017

The WEEKINAFRICA is a collection of key defence and security stories happening on the continent that the writers at African Defence review have picked up on. Things we can't write about at length, but which we felt you should know about.

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A United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) integrated convoy comprising of civilians, a team, force protection from the ChinBATT, travelled to Mundri, Amadi State on October 28, 2017 to assess the road situation for humanitarian delivering and investigate Human Rights’ violations following reports of conflict in the area. UN Photo ;Isaac Billy

December 10, 2017

SA Air Force Oryx crashed, 8 injured

South Africa

A South African Air Force Oryx helicopter, serial 1236 from 22 Squadron, crashed on the N1 highway near Cape Town, South Africa after flying into newly-erected and unmarked cables stretched across a Du Toitskloof mountain valley. The route is one often taken by air force helicopter crews returning from the Touwsrivier training area and is within a designated military low-flying and mountain rescue training zone, FAD 159. All three crew and five passengers on board survived with the commander fracturing two lumbar vertebrae and the others receiving only minor injuries. [source]

While the fuselage remains largely intact, it’s unlikely that it will be economical to return the aircraft to flight. This leaves the SAAF with 38 remaining Oryx helicopters in its fleet.

December 7, 2017

MONUSCO’s worst day as 15 peacekeepers killed in suspected ADF attack

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Fifteen Tanzanian peacekeepers with MONUSCO’s Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) were killed and a further 53 wounded when their base, COB Semuliki, was attacked and overrun by a large force of militants. MONUSCO has stated that it suspects the attackers belonged to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a deeply-entrenched Ugandan rebel group that has operated in the area for more than twenty years. The attack began just after 17:30 on Thursday evening and continued for over twelve hours during which the Tanzanians received no support, as the first MONUSCO reconnaissance flights left only at 07:00 the following morning and it appears no other units were tasked to assist despite the base getting out an alert to their main headquarters before communications were cut. [source]

In the coming days and weeks there’ll be an inevitable refocusing of the FIB’s approach as well as a likely investigation into what went wrong and how the disastrous event could have been avoided. It’s important that this takes into account the purpose and intention of the FIB as a ‘robust’ peacekeeping option and a recognition that it can no longer rely upon the relatively lax early warning, base defence, and force protection mechanisms relied upon by regular peacekeeping units.