Reserve Force Council :: South Africa
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The RFC, is a statutory body under the Defence Act, comprises members of the Reserve Units, individuals and associations. It acts as the representative of the Reserves (ResF), Volunteer or  Part-Time forces, component of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and serves as an advisory body on all matters concerning the Reserves in the SANDF.  The RFC assists in promoting and maintaining the Reserves as an integral part of the SANDF.

This RFC website is the primary communication channel for all information relevant to Reserves in South Africa. Please register, top right corner, so that we can keep you updated at all times. We would appreciate your comments, suggestions and articles so that we can fullfill our role of communicating with our stakeholders - send an email to

All views of individual associations, organisations and individuals are theirs and not those of the RFC.



News October 2014
Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 20 October 2014

Specialist simulator company ThoroughTec will be supplying simulators for four versions of the South African Army’s new Badger infantry fighting vehicles.

ThoroughTec has provided Patria driver training systems for Sweden and Croatia, giving it useful experience for the Badger, which is based on the Finnish Patria design. Denel Land Systems is currently building 238 Badger 8x8 vehicles for the Army at its Lyttelton premises in Centurion. These will be delivered over ten years and will partially replace the Army’s Ratel fleet.

ThoroughTec is no stranger to working with the South African National Defence Force as it has supplied all South African Army driver trainers including for the Ratel ZT-3, Rooikat, Casspir, Olifant, Mamba and Army trucks and cars. Although Thoroughtec has separate driver and turret simulators these can be linked together to train armoured vehicle crews, for example.

Written by Kim Helfrich, Monday, 20 October 2014

SANDF commander in chief Jacob ZumaWhile South Africa does, according to President Jacob Zuma, attach the greatest importance to the African Union, the Southern African Regional Development community and other key regional organisations, this does not always include representation at defence attaché level.

The list of South African diplomatic representation abroad published by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) shows men and women in uniform flying the flag on military matters in 19 African countries.

Additionally, South Africa does not have direct military representation at the 54 member strong African Union. Instead the country’s military interests at the continental body are looked after by the attaché based in Ethiopia where a brigadier general is the senior military attaché supported by an attaché colonel and a third secretary (defence), a senior warrant officer.

When it comes to the United Nations, South African maintains a permanent mission in New York where a colonel is listed as defence advisor.

In addition to Ethiopia, South Africa diplomatic missions on the continent with defence representation are Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

All told, across the globe, South Africa has military representation in 43 countries with diplomatic representation in 126.

“This,” Zuma said when he accepted credentials from incoming heads of mission, ambassadors and High Commissioners last week, “is how we have broadened our international reach from 34 missions abroad in 1994 to a staggering 126 missions today, with a sharp focus on Africa”.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 20 October 2014

Nigeria's government has reached a deal with Islamic militant group Boko Haram for a cease-fire and the release of around 200 girls kidnapped six months ago from a school in the northeast town of Chibok, the defence chief said on Friday.

"I wish to inform this audience that a ceasefire agreement has been concluded," Marshal Alex Badeh said in a statement after three days of talks with the militant group that has wreaked havoc in the northeast of Africa's biggest oil producer.

A presidency source said the agreement stretched to the girls, who were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok near the Cameroon border in April, sparking a worldwide outcry.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 20 October 2014

Eight armed men abducted an aid worker in South Sudan as he tried to board a plane to leave the conflict-hit Upper Nile region after receiving threats, a UN agency said on Friday.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said it had sent security staff to accompany the South Sudanese man to Malakal airport, where he was snatched at gunpoint by plain-clothed men while waiting in line to board a flight to the capital Juba.

The town of Malakal, which lies on the fringes of Upper Nile state's oil fields, has been hit by heavy fighting since the conflict in South Sudan, the world's newest nation, broke out in December between troops backing President Salva Kiir and soldiers loyal to his sacked deputy, Riek Machar.

Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 20 October 2014

The backbone of the SA Air Force’s (SAAF) airlift fleet – 28 Squadron and its ageing C-130BZs – have again been on the receiving end of government approval and thanks.

The SAAF website, recently up and running again after a long period of downtime along with the rest of the official Department of Defence/SA National Defence Force (SANDF) websites, reports Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, as saying the mercy flight by aircraft number 402 to Nigeria was the “biggest humanitarian evacuation effort by the SAAF since the dawn of democracy”.

He was speaking at AFB Zwartkop where the aircraft touched down following its air ambulance flight to and from Lagos last month.

Written by Guy Martin, Friday, 17 October 2014

Local UAV company S-Plane has unveiled its new Paragon command and control system, able to control multiple UAVs simultaneously.

Paragon was officially launched at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition last month. The system is essentially a 3D world in which unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), waypoints and other metadata are all objects that can be manipulated and controlled graphically by the operator. UAV sensor data can be viewed and projected onto the map, and as more data is gathered, more detail is added to the map. “This is the first of its kind as far as we know…there has been a lot of interest,” said Dr Iain Peddle, Chief Technical Officer at S-Plane.

Paragon allows the operator to control multiple UAVs as well as their payloads and can plot sensor swathe areas so that maximum coverage is obtained by aircraft sensors. An archiving function allows specific imagery to be reviewed in high definition. The system can be run on mobile devices such as rugged tables and laptops connecting to S-Plane’s ground data terminals wirelessly for freedom of operation.

Written by Reuters, Friday, 17 October 2014

Kenya's police have asked Interpol to issue a wanted persons alert for a businessman accused of illegal trafficking in ivory and other game trophies in east Africa.

They say Feizal Ali Mohammed, who hails from Kenya's Indian ocean port city of Mombasa, is behind an international poaching syndicate involving elephant tusks and was linked to a 3-tonne haul of ivory seized in Mombasa in June.

Poaching has surged in the last few years across sub-Saharan Africa, where gangs kill elephants and rhinos to feed Asian demand for ivory and horns for use in traditional medicines.

Kenyan police said they were working closely with Interpol, the international police agency, to have the suspect arrested.

Written by Reuters, Friday, 17 October 2014

Clashes between armed groups and pro-government militias killed at least six people in northern Mali, Tuareg rebels said on Friday, stoking tensions ahead of a new round of peace talks later this month.

Mali's northern desert region, home to the nomadic Tuaregs, has sought greater autonomy for a region known as Azawad for decades and last rose up in 2012. Negotiations between the government and pro-independence groups are due to resume in Algiers by the end of the month.

"There were three offensives during the day in the locality of In Tillit. They used heavy arms and shells," said Attaye Ag Mohamed, an official with the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), referring to fighting that took place near the town of Gao on Thursday.

He said two pro-Azawad fighters and 14 pro-government militia were killed in the clashes. Another Tuareg group CPA said the violence began when militia attacked a site defined as a barracks for fighters during the peace process.

Written by Reuters, Friday, 17 October 2014

A homemade bomb killed two policemen and wounded another two in the capital of Egypt's restive North Sinai province, state media reported late on Thursday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in Al-Arish.

The attack comes days after another homemade bomb exploded near the Supreme Court in downtown Cairo on Tuesday night, injuring 12 people in the second attack in the Egyptian capital in less than a month.

Last month, a bomb blast near the Egyptian foreign ministry killed three policemen in the worst attack in central Cairo for months. Islamist militant group Ajnad Misr claimed that attack.

Written by ISS Africa, Friday, 17 October 2014

The private sector has a role to play in post-conflict reconstruction and development, but any engagements must be approached with caution. This is one of the core findings of a recently launched paper by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

The paper argues that South Africa, with the establishment of the new South African Development Partnership Agency, should consider how to engage business actors in its future post-conflict development activities; but should be wary of the way in which it does this.

Businesses require peace to prosper: conversely, peacebuilding processes also require business investment. Fragile states are in need of economic revitalisation and development; yet struggle to attract investment precisely because they are seen as fragile. Flexible policy innovation is thus needed, along with a policymaking approach that is open to attracting responsible firms to risky places, seeking peacebuilding inputs from business actors, and exploring how to regulate conflict-sensitive business practices.

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Letter from Dr Job, Chair RFC Administrator Giles 9/18/2014 234.27 Download
Memorandum RE: Movable Heritage Assets Administrator Giles 9/18/2014 238.84 Download

News September 2014
Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

U.S. warplanes attacked Islamic State targets in Syria overnight, in raids that a group monitoring the war said killed civilians as well as jihadist fighters.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, in an area controlled by Islamic State, killing at least two civilian workers.

Strikes on a building on a road leading out of the town also killed a number of Islamic State fighters, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory which gathers information from sources in Syria.

The U.S. military said on Monday an American air strike overnight targeted Islamic State vehicles in a staging area adjacent to a grain storage facility near Manbij, but it had no evidence so far of civilian casualties.

Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

U.S. military efforts against Islamic State have cost nearly $1 billion so far and are likely to run between $2.4 billion and $3.8 billion per year if air and ground operations continue at the current pace, according to a think tank analysis.

But a ramp-up, including more air strikes and a significant boost in ground forces, could send costs soaring to between $13 billion and $22 billion annually, said the analysis released on Monday by the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

"Future costs depend, to a great extent, on how long operations continue, the steady-state level of air operations, and whether additional ground forces are deployed beyond what is already planned," said the report by Todd Harrison and other analysts.

Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The United States plans to quickly increase its presence in Liberia, where military personnel are deploying to help the West African nation halt the advance of the worst Ebola epidemic on record, the general in charge of the mission said on Monday.

Washington is sending some 3,000 soldiers to the region to build treatment centres and train local medics. Around half will be based in Liberia, with the rest providing logistical support outside the country.

"This is about urgency and speed. So what you're going to see here pretty soon is forces flown here," Major General Darryl Williams told journalists in the capital, Monrovia.

"I have 175 soldiers and I have another 30 that are in other countries that are beginning to set up the logistics hub to fly forces in here," he said.

Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A record 4,077 migrants have died already this year crossing deserts and seas worldwide, three-quarters of them in perilous journeys across the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, an aid agency said on Monday.

They include an estimated 500 people fleeing Africa and the Middle East feared drowned in a shipwreck off Malta in mid-September after smugglers deliberately rammed their boat, the International Organisation for Migration said.

In its first comprehensive report on such deaths, the IOM said 40,000 migrants worldwide are believed to have perished since 2000, 22,000 of them seeking a better life in Europe.

"Limited opportunities for safe and regular migration drive would-be migrants into the hands of smugglers, feeding an unscrupulous trade that threatens the lives of desperate people," IOM Director-General William Lacy Swing said in a statement. "We need to put an end to this cycle."

Written by ISS Africa, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Given the extent to which it dominates global news and politics, it is remarkable how little we know about the men – and, very occasionally, women – behind Islamist extremism.

How are people drawn into such radical politics? What type of person becomes a terrorist? What is it that forces radicals out of day-to-day politics and into the extreme and often violent margins of society?

There are theories, of course. Maybe, some say, there’s something inherent within Islam that encourages intolerance; maybe it’s a function of widespread poverty, neglect and discrimination; maybe human nature inherently dictates that there will always be groups that want to overturn the status quo.

Written by defenceWeb, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Around 31 400 new passenger and freighter aircraft, 100 seats and above, worth $4.6 trillion will be needed over the next 20 years, according to Airbus, as passenger traffic grows annually at 4.7%.

In its Global Market Forecast between now and 2033, Airbus said the passenger and freighter fleet will increase from today’s 18 500 aircraft to 37 500 by 2033, an increase of nearly 19 000 aircraft. Some 12 400 older less fuel efficient passenger and freighter aircraft will be retired.

The company pointed out that today 32 million flights carry three billion passengers and 50 million tonnes of freight a year. Globally the aviation sector’s economic impact is estimated at $2.4 trillion annually.

Written by defenceWeb, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bell Helicopter has received new customer commitments for fourteen Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopters in southern Africa, with nine coming during the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) show in Pretoria.

Bell Helicopter has worked with National Airways Corporation (NAC), its independent representative in South Africa, to secure new customer commitments for the new aircraft, the helicopter maker said. The new JRX helicopters have been purchased primarily by private pilots and enthusiasts.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our 25th year representing Bell Helicopter and nothing could be more fitting in celebration than to introduce the Bell 505 JRX to our market at AAD,” said Martin Banner, chief executive officer of NAC. “The Bell 505 has undoubtedly been the star of the show and its reception has been remarkable. We look forward to many more years of partnership and success with Bell Helicopter particularly as they continue to roll out their exciting new commercial products like the JRX and the Bell 525 Relentless.”

Written by Kim Helfrich, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

An indication of the Reserve Force’s importance to the overall South African defence capability comes with the utilisation, for an average of 180 days a year, of more than 70% of its 21 500 active members.

“The Reserves are making significant contributions within all four services of the Department of Defence and increased utilisation has been observed over a period of time,” Defence Secretary Dr Sam Gulube told the recent Reserve Force symposium in Midrand.

Evidence of this was the increased use of Reserves in Operation Corona (border protection) and in continental peace support operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan.

Written by defenceWeb, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

At least 30 South African social justice organisations want the Seriti Commission of Inquiry dissolved.

The call comes after weekend revelations by the Sunday Times that President Jacob Zuma allegedly received bribes in the form of cash, overseas trips and clothing from French arms company Thales.

Speaking on behalf of the organisations which have endorsed the call for the Commission’s dissolution, Murray Hunter of the Right2Know Campaign said they had five major concerns about the Seriti Commission.

Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

When a little-known group of Algerian militants beheaded a French tourist last week, they were not only lashing out at the West, but also staking an unmistakable claim in the shifting ground of jihadist power politics.

Herve Gourdel's murder by the Caliphate Soldiers, ostensibly to punish France for Western military strikes on Islamic State forces in Iraq, was testament to the pull now exerted by the al Qaeda-offshoot in the battle for the loyalties of jihadists.

A week before Gourdel was kidnapped and killed, the Soldiers' Algerian commander Abdelmalek Gouri, also known as Khalid Abu Suleiman, had split with al Qaeda's North African wing to support Islamic State, whose battlefield successes and declaration of a "Caliphate" in Iraq and Syria have stolen al Qaeda's thunder.

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News August 2014
Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 29 August 2014

The decision by three witnesses to “withdraw” from the Seriti Commission is being “considered” by the Presidentially appointed commission investigating the multi-billion Rand arms deal.

Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren on Thursday said they had decided “with great disappointment” to withdraw all participation in the Commission.

“The appointment of the Commission raised great expectations that the truth would finally be established and this would challenge the interests of politicians, middlemen and large corporations in one of the most corrupt industries in the world. The Commission had the prospect of serving not only South Africans but all people across the globe campaigning against the devastating impact of corruption in the arms trade.

Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 29 August 2014

Legal and other actions taken by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) following the violent 2009 Union Buildings protest has by and large backfired with another judgement against it handed down this week.

The attempted dismissal of 664 soldiers by way of notices in newspapers was on Thursday declared unlawful by the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) in Bloemfontein.

The matter was taken to the highest court in the country by the SA National Defence Union (Sandu). The Pretoria headquartered military trade union can now look back on August as a good month in court having given the SANDF’s legal team a bloody nose on no less than three occasions with the SCA judgement the cherry on top.

Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 29 August 2014

Chinese defence minister Chang Wanquan has called for greater bilateral cooperation between China and South Africa during a meeting with General Solly Shoke, chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), on Wednesday.

Chang hailed defence ties between the two countries and said that both sides should seek strategic and long-term cooperation in the field of defence and should also learn from each other, reports Xinhua.

Shoke said South Africa is willing to further expand defence cooperation with China to push forward bilateral relationship.

The day before the meeting, Shoke and Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, co-chaired the sixth meeting of the China-South Africa Defence Committee.

“Both sides agreed to fully implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, promote high-level visits and personnel exchanges between the two armed forces, expand pragmatic communication and cooperation so as to push forward China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership,” according to Xinhua.

Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 29 August 2014

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula addressed over a thousand female South African National Defence Force personnel during the 2014 Women’s Parade at Air Force Base Swartkop on 29 August.

Programme Director
Secretary for Defence
Acting Chief of the SANDF
Director General of Military Veterans

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
Chiefs of our Arms of Service and Divisions
Members of the PDSC
Generals and Flag Officers
Senior Officials of the Department of Military Veterans
The Military Ombud

Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 August 2014

African Islamists may be emboldened by the Islamic State's gains in the Middle East, and local security services need to cooperate to counter the continent's militants, African intelligence officials heard on Thursday.

African Islamist rebels like Nigeria's Boko Haram have not made as dramatic an advance as Islamic State, which controls a swathe of Syria and Iraq. But they have launched attacks across Africa, from Niger, Mali and Nigeria in the west to Somalia and Kenya in the east.

The success of Islamic State could shape the thinking of African Islamists, said Andrew Muzonzini, Zimbabwe's head of external intelligence and a member of the African Union's Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA).

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News July 2014
Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 01 August 2014

A reply to a DA parliamentary question posed by Dianne Kohler Barnard has revealed there are 23 682 trained detectives in the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“However, in the recent budget briefings, the number of detectives (less support staff) was given as 25 771. This raises questions over the number of untrained detectives in particular. Either way, this number is simply not enough to address South Africa’s massive crime crisis, which has seen violent crime once again on the increase and the murder rate rise again to 45 per day.

“According to the DA’s policy proposals, we would ensure an additional 7 818 detectives are brought into the SAPS, to bring detective numbers to 31 500.

Written by Reuters, Friday, 01 August 2014

Spain said on Thursday it was pulling its ambassador and embassy staff out of Libya temporarily as clashes among rival militia push the North African country further into chaos.

On Tuesday, 29 Spanish residents and their families were evacuated from Libya.

"All the information we have is that the situation in Libya will get much worse very quickly," Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo told parliament.

One person will remain in the embassy to oversee archives while Spanish consulate business will be taken on by Italy and Malta, which have kept their own embassies open, Margallo said.

Written by Reuters, Friday, 01 August 2014

Heavy shelling resumed on Thursday in southern Tripoli where rival militia brigades were battling for control of the capital's main airport in some of the worst clashes since the 2011 revolt which ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

Around 200 people have been killed since the clashes erupted two weeks ago in the capital and also in the eastern city of Benghazi, where a coalition of Islamist militants and former rebels have overrun a major army base in the city.

Thuds of artillery and anti-aircraft cannons echoed across Tripoli from early Thursday morning, a day after a temporary ceasefire agreed by factions to allow firefighters to put out a huge blaze at a fuel depot hit by a rocket.

Written by Reuters, Friday, 01 August 2014

Nine foreign nationals were charged in a Kenyan court on Thursday with trafficking the biggest ever single seizure of drugs at the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa.

There has been a surge in the volume of heroin trafficked through east Africa in recent years, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says, with east Africa’s biggest port of Mombasa cited as a transit point for narcotics and other contraband.

The suspects, who included six Pakistanis, two Indians and an Iranian, denied trafficking the heroin and were detained until November when their trial will begin.

Prosecutors told the court on Thursday that the 377.2 kg drug haul had a market value of 1.1 billion shillings ($12.54 million). Police also found 33,200 litres of liquid heroin whose value is yet to be established.

Written by Reuters, Friday, 01 August 2014

Two people were shot dead when Libyan border guards opened fire to disperse hundreds of Egyptians trying to cross into Tunisia to flee Libya's growing chaos, the Tunisian state news agency TAP said on Thursday.

Hundreds of Libyan families and foreign workers have fled their homes after two weeks of clashes between rival Libyan militias over Tripoli's airport in the worst violence since the 2011 war to oust Muammar Gaddafi.

Most Libyan airports are closed because of deteriorating security in Tripoli and Benghazi, leaving Tunisia's border one of the few routes out for residents and some foreign diplomats fleeing bloodshed in the capital.

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Air Algerie flight that crashed in Mali last week appears to have plummeted to the ground from an altitude of 10,000 metres in just a few minutes after flying into a storm, a senior official involved in the investigation was quoted as saying.

French officials have said they believe bad weather was most likely to blame for the crash, which killed all 118 passengers and crew when the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft smashed into the ground south of the Malian town of Gossi, near the border with Burkina Faso.

Pilots of the plane, which left the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou en route for Algiers in the early hours of Thursday morning, asked for permission to alter their route due to poor weather as they flew north.

Written by defenceWeb, Thursday, 31 July 2014

Ethiopian Airlines has taken delivery of three Cessna 172 aircraft for pilot training, from Cessna. The aircraft were received on July 24.

Ethiopian has also bought and received 12 Diamond training aircraft from the Austrian Diamond Aircraft Manufacturing Company to enhance the quality of pilot training it provides, the airline said in a statement.

Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group said, “Human resource development is one of the four pillars we set in order to achieve our vision 2025 strategic plan. That’s why we took serious measures in developing and modernizing our aviation academy. Our plan is to own a leading Pan-African aviation training centre by 2025 that will accept and train multinational aviation professionals from all over the world. The addition of these aircraft will significantly enhance our pilot training capacity.”

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 31 July 2014

Nigerian forces have arrested two Boko Haram suspects who were travelling with a 10-year-old girl with explosives strapped to her, the government said on Wednesday.

Government spokesman Mike Omeri said the suspects had been intercepted in a Honda CRV car travelling along a road in the north's Katsina state.

"Ten-year old Hadiza was discovered to have been strapped with an explosive belt and, immediately, Iliya and Zainab made attempt to escape with the car, but were later blocked by other concerned Nigerians and subsequently arrested," he said.

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 31 July 2014

Rival militias fighting for control of Tripoli airport agreed on Wednesday to a temporary ceasefire to allow firefighters to try to control a huge blaze at a fuel depot hit by a rocket.

After a fortnight of the worst fighting since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, most Western governments have followed the United States and United Nations pulling their diplomats out of the North African country.

The French government said it had temporarily closed its embassy on Wednesday, and evacuated 30 French nationals from Tripoli just a few days after the U.S. embassy evacuated its staff under heavy military escort across the Tunisian border.

Except for sporadic shelling away from the ceasefire zone around the fire near the capital's international airport, Wednesday was the quietest day in the capital Tripoli for two weeks, with less smoke seen from the blaze.

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 31 July 2014

Greece is sending a frigate and two other vessels to Libya to evacuate workers at its embassy in Tripoli as well as a few hundred Chinese and European nationals, government officials said on Thursday.

The Greek frigate Salamis, which can carry up to 100 evacuees, is expected to arrive in Libya on Thursday evening, a defence ministry official said. A second naval vessel, Prometheus, and a passenger ferry are expected to help evacuate workers from countries including Britain and Cyprus, officials said.

The past two weeks of fighting between rival militias in Libya have been the worst since the civil war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, prompting Western governments to follow the United States and the United Nations in pulling their diplomats out of the North African country.

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