S.Africa: Black Flight Engineer killed after helicopter shot down in DRC – Congo War


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[As you can see, South Africa is losing vehicles and even aircraft along with others dead in the wars in Africa, especially the Congo war. Jan]

A South African airman is among the more than 60 peacekeepers to be posthumously honoured with the Dag Hammarskjöld medal at United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York on 29 May – the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Sergeant Vusimusi Mabena, a helicopter flight engineer, died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 5 February 2023 when an SA Air Force (SAAF) Oryx medium transport helicopter was hit by gunfire on a flight to Goma.

The Dag Hammarskjöld medal was instituted in July 1997, with the first medals awarded in October 1998. It is named after the second UN Secretary-General, a Swede, who died in an aircraft crash in Zambia in September 1961.

There will not be any event in South Africa to mark the day with President Cyril Ramaphosa declaring Wednesday, 29 May, a public holiday for the country to vote for national representatives in both Parliamentary houses – the National Assembly (NA) and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) as well as for the nine provincial legislatures. This was confirmed to defenceWeb by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Acting Director Defence Corporate Communication (DCC), Colonel Selinah Rawlins, who said a commemorative parade would be held at a date still to be confirmed. The Wall of Remembrance at the Department of Defence (DoD) mobilisation centre at De Brug outside Bloemfontein has previously hosted the South African contribution to the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Mabena was previously honoured in South Africa with a memorial service at what is now the Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (AF MDW), previously Air Force Base (AFB) Swartkop, in February last year as well as at the annual SAAF memorial service at the SAAF Memorial on Bays Hill, north of AF MDW.

As with previous Dag Hammarskjöld medal awards, all are posthumous and this year go to 30 military personnel killed while on UN deployment. A similar number of civilian families will receive the medal on behalf of dead husbands/wives, with the families of two police officers also due to receive the honour.

Thirty-four troop/police and civilian countries contributing to UN peacekeeping efforts as part of the world body’s eleven missions (including five in Africa) are represented on the 2024 Dag Hammarskjöld medal list. Alphabetically it goes from A (Afghanistan) through to U (United Kingdom).

The SANDF began honouring the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in 2015.

The Department of Defence records around 50 South African soldiers killed since the country became an active troop and equipment supplier to African Union and United Nations continental peacekeeping and peace support missions, but this figure is not complete. When those killed in Lesotho or the Central African Republic (CAR) are included it increases to almost 100 over the last three decades.

South Africa typically contributes between 1 500 and 2 500 military personnel to international peacekeeping missions a year. Peacekeeping deployments since democracy include operations Mistral, Sunray and Teutonic in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Operation Espresso on the Eritrea-Ethiopia border; Operation Fibre in Burundi; Operation Triton in the Comoros; Operation Montego in Liberia; Operation Cordite in Darfur; Operation Pristine in Cote D’Ivoire; Operation Vimbizela in the Central African Republic; Operation Bongane in Uganda; Operation Rachel in Mozambique and Operation Manguzi in Angola, Lesotho and Namibia. More recently, Operation Vikela had soldiers deployed with the SADC (Southern African Development Community) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) to fight an insurgency in Cabo Delgado province, and Operation Thiba is the SANDF’s contribution to the SADC Mission in the DRC (SAMIDRC) from 2023.

Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/african-news/fallen-sa-airman-to-be-honoured-posthumously-with-un-medal/

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