The SANDF has confirmed an incident in which an airborne helicopter came under gunfire between the towns of Beni and Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday.
South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers parade on the streets near the Union Buildings.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Piet Paxton‚ Staff Officer Class 1 Operational Communication: Joint Operational Headquarters‚ one bullet hit the fuel tank of the Oryx‚ causing a minor fuel leak.
He said this was after several shots were fired from a small-calibre weapon were fired at the helicopter.
Paxton said the incident took place during a routine visit by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) Force Commander‚ Lieutenant-General Santos Cruz‚ in the far north-east of the DRC.
“The pilot managed to safely fly out of the danger zone and landed at the Mavivi Airport near Beni. The origin of the gunfire and who is responsible for that is still under investigation by MONUSCO‚” he said.
He said nobody was injured in the incident and the air crew and passengers were safe on the ground in Mavivi.
“Further detail will be released once the full report is received from the Mission Area‚” he said.
More than 1300 South African troops are deployed in the eastern DRC’s highly volatile region as part of the UN peace keeping mission in the DRC.
They are part of 3000 troops from SA‚ Malawi and Tanzania mandated by the UN stabilisation mission in the DR Congo.
In May last year‚ three South African soldiers were treated at a Goma hospital in the DRC for injuries sustained when a rebel group attacked their base in an early-morning raid by what it was believed to be linked to the Mai Mai militia.