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 communication@rfcsa.org

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

  





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News June 2015
Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

China's Defence Ministry on Thursday declined to confirm a report that it was in talks for a military base in Horn of Africa country Djibouti, though it said all countries had an interest in regional peace and stability.

In May, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh told Agence France-Presse of the talks, adding that Beijing's presence would be welcome in the former French colony, which borders Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The United States and France both already have bases in the country and its port has been used by foreign navies, including China's, participating in the fight against Somali pirates.

Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun, asked about the report at a monthly news briefing, said the two countries had a traditional friendly relationship.

"Over the past few years both countries' friendly cooperative relationship has kept on developing, and in all areas there is practical cooperation," Yang said, in comments broadly in line with Foreign Ministry remarks last month on the same topic.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

Egypt is holding the highest number of journalists behind bars since record keeping began, using the pretext of national security to crack down on press freedoms, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Thursday.

A prison census conducted by the CPJ on June 1 found at least 18 Egyptian journalists were being held in jail for reasons related to their reporting, the most in Egypt since the CPJ began recording data on imprisoned journalists in 1990.

"The threat of imprisonment in Egypt is part of an atmosphere in which authorities pressure media outlets to censor critical voices and issue gag orders on sensitive topics," the CPJ said in a report published on Thursday.

Khaled al-Balshy, the head of the freedoms committee of Egypt's press syndicate, said the number of journalists imprisoned was higher, putting it at more than 30.

"We are in the worst climate for journalism in Egypt's history," he told Reuters.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

South Africa's government will review its membership of the International Criminal Court over a dispute about Pretoria's failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.

The diplomatic row dates from June 15 when Bashir flew out of South Africa as world powers and activists urged the government to arrest him and has exposed a growing rift between Africa and developed nations over the role of the ICC.

The global court has issued a warrant for Bashir on charges of masterminding genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. But South Africa cited legal complexities and the need to balance its obligations to the African Union, among others, and let him go.

Bashir has denied the genocide charges.

"Cabinet decided that it will review South Africa's participation in the Rome Statutes of the International (Criminal) Court," Jeff Radebe, minister in the presidency, told reporters during a post-cabinet meeting briefing.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House on July 20 to discuss fighting the Boko Haram militant group, among other issues, the White House said on Thursday.

"The visit will underscore the United States' ... commitment to strengthening and expanding our partnership with Nigeria’s new government," the White House said in a statement.

During the visit, Obama will discuss "a holistic, regional approach to combating Boko Haram" with President Buhari, who has led Africa's biggest economy and most populous country since being elected in March.

During the visit, advancing economic and political reforms in Nigeria will also be discussed between senior government advisers from both countries, the White House said.

Obama and other leaders met with Buhari at the G7 summit earlier this month to discuss efforts at combating Islamist militants.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

About 40 people have been killed by suspected Boko Haram militants who torched houses and shot people as they fled in two villages in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, witnesses told Reuters on Wednesday.

The attackers, who arrived on motorcycles and vehicles mounted with guns, shot residents and looted shops in the villages of Debiro Biu and Debiro Hawul late on Monday night and into Tuesday morning, the witnesses said.

Local police confirmed the attacks took place but declined to comment further.

Details of the attack did not emerge for several hours due to poor telecommunications networks in the remote villages in northeast Nigeria, a region in which Boko Haram has killed thousands in a six-year bid to set up an Islamic state.

"They were shooting sporadically and then they started looting shops and setting places ablaze," said witness Hussaini Adamu, who fled with other villagers to hide in bushes after fleeing Debiro Biu.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

A strike by some workers at Air Madagascar that has grounded most of the state-owned carrier's fleet neared one week, with union officials saying it would continue until the airline addresses their demands.

Last Thursday, strike leader Rado Rabarilala said the action was mostly over what he called poor governance and mismanagement at the airline, which serves 14 cities on the island and 13 foreign destinations.

"The strike will continue until we get something concrete," Rabarilala told reporters late on Tuesday.

Haja Raelison, the airline's chief executive, said if the strike continued, the airline would be unable to pay its bills.

"If this situation continues, this may end up in a cessation of payments. For now, it is difficult to say when it will happen, it will depend on the financial situation. But the situation is very serious," he said.
  Read More...

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

Suspected Boko Haram militants riding on motorbikes and horseback attacked a village in southern Niger overnight, killing at least five people, two security sources said on Wednesday.

The attack follows a night-time raid blamed on the Nigerian Islamist group that killed 38 people in the same region near Niger's southern border last week.

"Boko Haram attacked overnight on 23 June the village of Yebi, near Bosso. The terrorists came on horseback and motorbikes and killed at least five villagers," one of the sources said. The second source confirmed the attack, adding that the attackers had later set fire to the village.

Following last week's deadly raid, Niger's military announced ground and air operations to track down and neutralise the attackers.

In a statement read on state-owned radio late on Wednesday, the defence ministry said Nigerien forces had killed 15 Boko Haram fighters between June 18 and 23 and taken another 20 prisoner.

It said one government soldier was lightly wounded in the operations, which also destroyed an armoured vehicle and 26 motorcycles.

Despite a regional military operation to beat back Boko Haram, southern Niger has been attacked dozens of times this year. Its government has declared a state of emergency for the region and has arrested more than 600 people it accuses of links to the group.
  

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

Gunmen shot dead two policemen and abducted two Lebanese nationals on Wednesday from a construction site in Nigeria's southern delta region, witnesses and police said.

The gunmen approached in two speed boats, killed two policemen guarding the site in a gun fight, snatched the two foreign workers and fled in the craft, Anisim Butswat, spokesman for Bayelsa state police said.

The attack was in the Ogbia local area in Bayelsa state, the same area where three expatriate construction workers were kidnapped in November.

"We have launched a massive man hunt for the kidnappers and their victims," Butswat said. "We want to assure Bayelsans to go about their legitimate duties as the police are on top of the situation."

Nigeria, Africa's largest economy and leading energy producer, is one of the world's most dangerous countries for kidnapping, mostly in the prosperous south where gangs net millions of dollars from ransoms.
  

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

Uganda's police force on Wednesday barred a former prime minister from holding meetings to promote his challenge to President Yoweri Museveni for power, saying their party had not yet nominated a candidate.

The east African country plans presidential elections between February and March next year and Amama Mbabazi, whom Museveni replaced as prime minister last September, has emerged as a rival to the 70-year-old leader within their ruling National Resistance Movement party.

The decision by Museveni, one of Africa's longest-serving leaders, to sack his former ally revealed a growing power struggle between him and Mbabazi, analysts said. Museveni is expected to seek another term.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura told Mbabazi in a letter that his planned meetings would not be allowed.

"Your party has neither sponsored nor endorsed you as an aspirant ... your aspirations are illegal," he wrote. "Your programme of public meetings are not cleared by the police and can not go ahead."
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 25 June 2015

One of Burundi's vice presidents has fled to Belgium, saying he had been threatened after denouncing President Pierre Nkurunziza's quest for a third term in office, in remarks the government dismissed.

Gervais Rufyikiri, who held the post of second vice president, is the latest senior official to flee in recent weeks, as Nkurunziza's bid for what opponents say is an unconstitutional third term has plunged Burundi into its worst crisis since an ethnically charged civil war ended in 2005.

In May, the vice president of Burundi's election commission and a senior judge fled amid protests demanding Nkurunziza stand down. He has refused to change tack, citing a court ruling that found he was allowed to seek another term.

"I took the decision to leave the country because I was personally threatened," Rufyikiri told France 24 television from Belgium on Wednesday. "All who are against the third term are threatened. I personally was fearing for my security since I saw some signals."

Presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho said there was no threat to Rufyikiri, who had simply "expressed an opinion".
  Read More...

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News May 2015
Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 29 May 2015

The Royal Netherlands Air Force on 27 May sent a single AH-64D Apache attack helicopter to Mali to replace the one that crashed on 17 March, killing both crewmembers on board.

The Dutch defence ministry said the Apache was loaded aboard a NATO C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. Once the helicopter arrives in Mali, it will bring up the Dutch contingent’s helicopter strength to the required numbers.

The Netherlands has been involved in the U.N. mission in Mali since last year. The Dutch contingent of around 450 personnel in Mali is mainly involved in conducting reconnaissance and gathering intelligence, serving, as it were, as the 'eyes and ears' of the mission. The Dutch contribution chiefly consists of Special Operations Forces; intelligence personnel; four Apache attack helicopters; three Chinook transport helicopters (from October 2014); and police trainers. The first two Apaches arrived in Mali in May last year.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 May 2015

Heavy fighting erupted in southern Yemen near Aden airport on Friday when a Sunni Muslim militia attacked Shi'ite Houthi rebels in a push to drive Houthis from the district, residents and fighters said.

Saudi-led forces also made four air strikes on a military base near the airport, a source in the southern militia told Reuters.

A Saudi-led coalition began air strikes in Yemen on March 26 in a campaign to restore Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. He fled in March, after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in September and then thrust into central and south Yemen.

Aden is Yemen's commercial hub. Its airport has been closed since fighting began but its port provides sporadic access for desperately needed humanitarian aid to enter the country.

Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh are concentrated around Aden's districts of Khor Maksar, Crater and Moalla.
  Read More...

Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 May 2015

The blind man with just one hand arrived at the main mosque in the centre of the Iraqi city of Ramadi at dusk on Wednesday, flanked by Islamic State fighters.

When the evening prayer was over, the man, whose head was shrouded in black, delivered a speech to the faithful, hailing the Islamic State's capture of the capital of Anbar Province - its greatest victory over Iraqi forces in almost a year.

Ali Attiya al-Jubouri, widely known as "the blind judge", is one of Islamic State's most senior figures and his presence in the mosque signalled the group's dominance over the city, which it seized on May 17 from hapless government forces.

"By the blessing of God, we now have an open road between Ramadi and Raqqa," he said, referring to the ultra hardline group's de-facto capital in neighbouring Syria.

"You are free to travel there and work in trade, and we will help you by all means," he said, according to a resident of the city who was in the audience.
  Read More...

Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 May 2015

The right wing politician who masterminded the killing of a South African anti-apartheid hero was granted medical parole on Friday, setting aside an earlier decision by the justice minister to block his release.

Clive Derby-Lewis, an ultra-right wing politician who masterminded the 1993 assassination of Communist Party leader Chris Hani in an attempt to trigger a race war, had been serving a life sentence for the murder.

Derby-Lewis was diagnosed with cancer and had asked to be paroled. But Justice Minister Michael Masutha denied his request in January on grounds that his cancer was Stage 3 and not Stage 4, a prerequisite for medical parole to be considered.

He then asked the court to review the minister's decision.

"The applicant has made out a case for placement on medical parole. The applicant is placed on medical parole with immediate effect," said High Court Judge Selby Baqwa, adding that the parole board would determine his release conditions.
  Read More...

Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 May 2015

Three decades after he first came to power in a military coup, Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in on Friday as elected President of Nigeria, giving him control of an African giant struggling with slowing economic growth and a raging Islamist insurgency.

Dressed in traditional Muslim attire, the 72-year-old general stood on the stage clutching a Koran in his right hand as he pledged to "preserve, protect and defend" the constitution of Africa's most populous nation.

Moments later, dozens of white doves were released into the air, a symbol of peace against the Boko Haram militants who have killed thousands in the last six years in their quest to carve out an Islamic caliphate in the northeast.

The formal swearing-in marks a remarkable political turn-around for Buhari, who has gone from military dictator in the mid-1980s to a born-again democrat swept to power on the back of a landslide victory at the ballot box in March.

However, he inherits a host of problems from outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan, whose five years in charge were marked by massive corruption scandals and aimless or haphazard economic, security and foreign policy-making.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 May 2015

Libya is on the verge of economic collapse as rival factions haggle over a political settlement, the United Nations special envoy said on Thursday.

Bernardino Leon, who has been trying for months to broker an agreement on a national unity government for Libya, said the United Nations was preparing a new draft of a possible political agreement which it hoped to give to the feuding parties in the first week of June.

Two governments - one in the east, the other in Tripoli - are fighting for control of the North African state four years after leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted.

Leon said that in the last round of talks in Morocco, the rival groups had agreed on 80 percent of an accord and negotiators were working on the remaining 20 percent, which was the most difficult part.

Libyans understood that the only solution was a political agreement but it was difficult to say if it was possible within the next three or four weeks, he told a news conference in Brussels.
  Read More...

Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 May 2015

South Africa's police minister said on Thursday that President Jacob Zuma will not be liable to repay money spent on security upgrades to his rural home, which opposition parties have slammed as lavish and wasteful.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko ruled in a televised address that the upgrades, which have provoked a public outcry and included a swimming pool and animal enclosure, were legitimate security features.

"The state president is therefore not liable to pay for any of these security features," he said.

Nhleko's findings contrast to those of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who investigated upgrades which cost over $20 million in total.

Last year, Madonsela ruled Zuma had benefited unduly from the upgrades to his Nkandla home and recommended he pay back some of the money.

But Nhleko said the swimming pool, which he called a "fire pool," was needed for fire-fighting purposes and the animal enclosure was required to prevent cattle and chickens from setting off motion detectors.
  Read More...

Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 May 2015

An Angolan journalist was given a six-month suspended sentence on Thursday after he was convicted of slander for accusing generals of human rights abuses at diamond mines, concluding a high-profile trial in one of Africa's most repressive states.

Rafael Marques de Morais' 2012 book "Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola" detailed more than 100 alleged killings and torture of civilians and workers at diamond mines owned by senior army officers.

The generals denied the allegations and brought defamation charges against Marques de Morais in former colonial master Portugal, where the book was published; but that case was dismissed for lack of evidence.

The generals then turned to the courts in Angola, where rights groups say the ruling party, in power since independence in 1975, pays scant regard to freedom of expression.

Marques de Morais reached an out of court agreement with the generals requiring him to remove books from circulation and the Internet. In return, they agreed to drop their libel case.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 29 May 2015

Spain's state prosecutor charged the leader of Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, with terrorism and crimes against humanity over a 2013 attack on a Nigerian town in which a Spanish nun was assaulted, court papers said.

Spain has pioneered the use of universal jurisdiction, the concept that crimes against humanity can be prosecuted across borders, in instances such as when a Spanish judge issued an arrest warrant for Chile's Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998.

The Boko Haram case arises from a militant attack on the eastern Nigerian town of Ganye on March 22, 2013 in which at least 25 people were killed.

Court papers issued on Thursday said militants assaulted the nun, Maria Jesus Mayor, in Ganye before she was able to escape into hiding and was later rescued by Nigerian security services.

The court documents gave no details of the alleged incident involving the nun. The judge has asked for a study of Boko Haram from Interpol and will obtain a declaration from Mayor about the incident, according to the court papers.
  Read More...

Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 29 May 2015

Two South Africans are among the 125 soldiers, police and civilians who today were posthumously awarded the Dag Hammarskjold medal at UN headquarters in New York, part of commemorating the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Riflemen Ashwin Ashrick Zass and Zongezile Victor Nkohla died last year while serving with the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), Douglas Coffman of the world body’s strategic communications division said.

All told 3,358 soldiers, police and civilians have died while doing UN peacekeeping duty as the result of acts of violence, accidents and disease. The first UN peacekeeper to be killed on duty was Norwegian Ole Bakke, gunned down in Palestine in July 1948. Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden, UN Mediator in Palestine, was the second – assassinated two months later.

The UN’s leadership was cut down in 1961, when Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, along with 15 others, died in a plane crash in the Congo while seeking peace.


Three decades later, the growing number and scale of UN peacekeeping missions put many more at risk. More lives were lost during the 1990s than in the previous four decades combined.
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News April 2015
Written by Kim Helfrich, Thursday, 30 April 2015

The complexity of a tender for a new hydrographic vessel for the SA Navy has seen the closing date extended by two months to allow potential bidders more time to finalise their bids.

Last October Armscor arranged a bidders’ conference for shipyards interested in replacing the SAS Protea. Representatives from 12 shipyards attended and after being provided with an in-depth look at the nuts and bolts of what Armscor termed “the supply of a hydrographic capability products system for the SA Navy”, they were given until last Friday (April 24) to submit tenders.

In addition to providing a new hydrographic platform for the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), the successful tenderer will also be responsible for supplying a pair of inshore survey motorboats, integrated with the hydrographic vessel; a sea boat and a hangar-flight deck arrangement for a medium-sized maritime helicopter.

The original statement of work includes an upgrade to the current shore-based hydrographic office infrastructure at Silvermine and associated logistic support, including a spare motorboat, fully equipped and operationally qualified.

Armscor communications manager Fidel Hadebe this week confirmed the extension of the tender closing date to June 30.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ugandan authorities said on Friday they were trying to verify whether a man arrested in Tanzania was Jamil Mukulu, the leader of an Islamist rebel group blamed for various deadly attacks in Western Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Ugandan government has said that Mukulu's organisation -- the Alliance of Democratic Forces – National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) -- is allied to elements of Somalia's al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents.

"We got information from Tanzania of someone arrested there a couple of days ago," Uganda police spokesman, Fred Enanga, told Reuters on Thursday.

"They wanted us to provide photographs and facial impressions of Jamil Mukulu ... We have provided them with that information and we're now waiting."

Forced out of Uganda in the mid-2000s, the ADF-NALU operates from bases in the mountains of eastern Congo and U.N. officials estimate that it has between 1,200 and 1,400 fighters.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 30 April 2015

When protesters in Burundi cheer for soldiers who turn up at demonstrations against the president's bid for a third term, it is redolent of uprisings further north in Africa where the military was hailed as friend not foe.

But deploying the army on the streets of Burundi may carry higher stakes than when generals intervened in Cairo and Tunis in 2011 and Ougadougou in 2014 to turf out veteran leaders.

Since Burundi's ethnically fuelled civil war ended in 2005, the army has been a symbol of reconciliation, absorbing rival factions that were part of the bloodletting that killed 300,000 people in a nation of just 10 million.

Drawing the military into a political row about whether President Pierre Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader and now the army's commander-in-chief, should run for office again risks testing that unity. It could drive troops back to rival camps.

“Everything hinges on the army,” said a senior diplomat who tracks the military. "Does it stay unified or does it split up?”
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Afghan army and police on Thursday failed to expel Taliban fighters from the outskirts of a besieged provincial capital as a seventh day of fierce fighting put pressure on national forces struggling largely without U.S. military backup.

The Taliban push is a major test of the Afghan security forces trained by NATO, which ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in December, 13 years after the U.S.-backed military intervention that toppled the hard-line Islamist regime.

The governor of the northern province of Kunduz vowed that the capital, Kunduz city, would not fall to the insurgents, but acknowledged that pushing back the Taliban was proving tough.

"It goes very slowly because we do not want defenceless civilians to suffer," said governor Mohammad Omar Safi.

Four civilians had been wounded, he said, along with 20 Afghan soldiers and police killed and 140 Taliban-allied fighters dead, many of them militants from neighbouring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  Read More...

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 30 April 2015

Denmark's Maersk shipping said on Thursday it insisted on the release of a vessel and crew seized by Iran, adding it assumed the incident was related to a 2005 court case over uncollected cargo.

The Marshall-Islands flagged Maersk Tigris container ship was detained by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, spurring the United States to send military vessels to monitor the situation.

Maersk had chartered the ship, which is owned by undisclosed private investors. The firm met with Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization on Wednesday and said the company "must presume" the seizure was related to the long-running cargo dispute.

"We have however not received any written or formal confirmation that the seizure and the cargo case are connected," the company said in a statement.

"We must insist that the crew and vessel are released as soon as possible. The crew is not employed by Maersk Line, nor is the vessel owned by Maersk Line. Maersk Tigris and its crew are thus not in any way party to the case."
  Read More...

Written by Murielle Delaporte - Second Line of Defence, Thursday, 30 April 2015

Djibouti is uniquely located “near a tectonic triple junction, where three tectonic plates meet: African, Arabian and Somali,” reads its geological description referring to the Red Sea fault, the Gulf of Aden fault and the Somalian Rift.

Similarly, French armed forces based on the territory guarding the Bab El Mandel straight are assigned missions on a triple front: African, Arabian and Somali…

The African Mission

The “red line” underlying today’s presence of French armed forces in this part of the world remains the defense of the Djiboutian territorial integrity and population ever since the country became independent in 1977, after almost a century of French rule which started in 1884.

Today, French forces based in Djibouti – or FFDj for Forces françaises stationnées à Djibouti – are part of the 12,000 French armed forces pre-positioned overseas in order to perform three tasks:
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Written by Guy Martin, Thursday, 30 April 2015

After fully integrating its IGS-4S video sighting system into the Colombian army’s fleet of Cascavel vehicles, Rippel Effect has successfully negotiated yet another follow-up order for more of the locally developed technology.

Rippel Effect previously delivered 73 systems to the Colombian army in two contracts and they completed installation of a further 16 systems in April 2015. A fourth order for the installation of another 18 systems has just been awarded to Rippel Effect.

Dawid Fourie, Marketing Executive at Rippel Effect, told defenceWeb that the IGS-4S has been doing very well in South America and that the company has had enquiries about installing the system as an upgrade for T-55 tanks for a potential Middle Eastern customer, and is busy with demonstrations in Latin America and the Middle East.

The IGS-4S was launched as a Rippel product over two years ago with technology licensed from South African firm Vision 24 Observation Systems. The model selected by Colombia is the IGS-4S compact video sighting system, which can be utilised in conjunction with various vehicle-mounted weapons in calibres ranging from 7.62 mm to 125 mm. The system provides the operator with a 24/7 below-armour observation and ranging capability to fire the weapon in all weather conditions, low visibility and darkness. It has a laser rangefinder, day camera, uncooled thermal imaging and multi-function screen, which displays aim points and system parameters, as well as controls for the thermal camera.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 30 April 2015

Qatar has agreed to buy 24 Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets in a deal worth 6.3 billion euros (4.54 billion pounds), the French government said on Thursday, as the Gulf Arab state looks to boost its military firepower amid regional instability.

Tensions in the Middle East with conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Libya, as well as concerns of Iran's growing influence in the area, have fuelled a desire across Sunni Gulf Arab states to modernise their military hardware.

The contract - the third this year for Dassault after deals to sell Rafale jets to Egypt and India - also includes MBDA missiles, and the training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the French army, a French Defence Ministry official said.

"The president spoke to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, who confirmed his desire to buy 24 Rafale combat planes," President Francois Hollande's office said.

Hollande will travel to Doha on May 4 to sign the contract before heading to Saudi Arabia as an honorary guest at a summit of Gulf Arab leaders.
  Read More...

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 30 April 2015

Investing in public toilets could reduce the number of sexual assaults in South African townships by almost a third and lower the economic cost of the crime on society, public health experts said on Wednesday.

Many women in South Africa must walk long distances from their homes to public toilets, leaving them vulnerable to sexual assault, according to a study by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health and School of Management.

Scores of often violent crimes including rape, robberies and murder are recorded every day in South Africa, earning it a place among the most violent countries in the world outside a war zone.

In 2011/2012, South Africa had the highest number of reported rapes per head of population of any Interpol member country, with more than 64,500 reported.

The study said between 2003 and 2012, an average of 635 sexual assaults were reported each year on women travelling to and from toilets in Khayelitsha, an urban township in Cape Town
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 30 April 2015

France is investigating allegations of child abuse in Central African Republic by soldiers that it sent there to stem an outbreak of sectarian killing, officials said on Wednesday.

The alleged abuse took place between December 2013 and June 2014 at a centre for displaced people at M’Poko airport in the capital Bangui, and concerned about 10 children, France's Defence Ministry said.

"A preliminary investigation by the Paris prosecutor has been open since July 31, 2014," a Justice Ministry spokesman said. "The investigation is ongoing." A Defence Ministry source said no suspects had yet been identified.

France intervened in Central Africa, a former French colony, some 18 months ago to stem violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels who had seized power. It started withdrawing some of its 2,000 troops this year, handing over to U.N. peacekeepers.

The allegations are acutely embarrassing for a country that prides itself on its ability to despatch rapid intervention forces, notably as a way of maintaining stability and French influence in its former African colonies.
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News March 2015



News February 2015



News January 2015
Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

Libya.Libya's warring factions who operate rival governments have agreed "in principle" to hold future talks to end the crisis in Libya, moving the negotiations away from Geneva, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Some of the opposing factions met in Geneva earlier this month under the auspices of the United Nations, but key representatives from a Tripoli-based government and parliament stayed away, demanding the dialogue be held within Libya.

"There was agreement on the principle of convening future dialogue sessions in Libya, provided that logistical and security conditions are available," the U.N. Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement after another round of talks in Geneva this week.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

Catherine Samba-Panza.The government of Central African Republic said on Thursday it rejected a ceasefire deal made in Kenya between two militia groups aimed at ending more than a year of clashes and attacks in which thousands have died.

Few details have emerged about the talks between the mainly Muslim Seleka alliance and the 'anti-balaka' militia who oppose them, though the two sides conducted low-level and sporadic peace negotiations for much of last year.

"The government categorically rejects the Nairobi accord because it was not associated with the discussions in any way. It is not a real accord, rather it's a series of grievances from the two armed groups which hold the country hostage," Communications Minister Georges Adrien Poussou told Reuters.

Central African Republic has been gripped by violence since the Seleka rebelled and seized power in March 2013. The group was forced to stand aside last year having failed to contain clashes with the 'anti-Balaka' and other violence.

The Seleka occupies much of the north and an interim government is struggling to assert its authority. France has started withdrawing some of its troops from the country, as a U.N. force, due to reach 10,000 by the end of April, deploys ahead of elections due later this year
  

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

An airliner.Libyan carrier Buraq Airlines said on Wednesday it had suspended all flights for two days after one of its air crews was killed in an attack on a luxury hotel in Tripoli.

It gave no details but a Libyan official has said a French national had been identified by his work identity card for the airline. Libyan websites said a crew of three were killed

Libyan carriers have struggled to keep the country connected to neighboring states since fighting between factions vying for power in Libya damaged Tripoli's main airport last year, causing foreign airlines to pull out.

On Tuesday, gunmen stormed the luxury Corinthia hotel, one of the last large hotels in Tripoli still open, killing around nine people, among them five foreigners.

"Buraq Airlines informs that all flights will be halted in the next two days due to reasons out of our control," the airline said on its Facebook website.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

AirAsia.The French first officer of an AirAsia passenger jet that crashed into the sea last month was at the controls just before the accident, Indonesia's lead investigator said on Thursday.

The Airbus A320 vanished from radar screens in bad weather on Dec. 28, less than half way into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. All 162 people on board were killed.

"The second-in-command, popularly known as the co-pilot, who usually sits to the right of the cockpit, at the time, he was flying the plane," said National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC) investigator Mardjono Siswosuwarno, referring to first officer Remi Plesel.

"The captain, sitting to the left, was the pilot monitoring."

Data from the black box flight data recorder has provided the accident probe with a "pretty clear picture" of what happened in the last moments of AirAsia flight QZ8501, Siswosuwarno said, although few details have been made public
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

Turkish Airlines and Middle East Airlines have resumed flights to Baghdad.Turkish Airlines and Lebanon's Middle East Airlines (MEA) resumed flights to Baghdad on Thursday after halting them earlier in the week when bullets hit a plane as it was landing in the Iraqi capital.

Samir Kubba, the head of Iraq's civil aviation authority, told Reuters a flight from Istanbul had landed and another from Beirut was expected shortly.

An MEA official and the Turkish Airlines website confirmed that both carriers, which provide daily flights to Baghdad, had resumed service.

At least seven airlines suspended flights to Baghdad following the shooting incident.

Dubai Aviation Corp, known as flydubai, Emirates Airlines, Sharjah's Air Arabia and Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways suspended flights in line with a directive from the United Arab Emirates' civil aviation authority
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News December 2014
Written by defenceWeb, Tuesday, 09 December 2014
AHRLAC, the first military manned fixed wing aircraft fully designed, tested and developed in South Africa, has completed 50 hours of incident-free test flying from Wonderboom Airport.

The Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft is another offering for the South African and African defence and security sectors from the Paramount Group, the largest privately owned defence and aerospace company on the continent.

The 50 hour milestone was reached with 55 flights since July at the airport north of Pretoria. The flight test programme is expanding the aircraft’s flight envelope in key performance areas including handling, airframe systems, centre of gravity, performance ranges and rough field capabilities.
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Written by Reuters, Monday, 08 December 2014
More than 70 Chinese nationals have been detained by Kenyan police investigating allegations of cyber crime, operating private radio services and being in the country illegally, their lawyers said on Friday.

China's foreign ministry said it was aware of the arrests and would cooperate with the Kenyan authorities.

The Chinese community in Kenya, as in other African nations, has grown with the expansion in trade and aid from the Asian giant.

"The Kenyan police have detained our clients for further investigations," said lawyer Ian Maina, who represents 40 of them. Another lawyer, Tom Wachakana, represents 36.

The lawyers said police were investigating allegations of involvement in cyber crime, breaking Kenya's communications rules by operating private radio broadcasting services and being in the country unlawfully.
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Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 08 December 2014
The first of a series of medal parades to honour military and civilian personnel involved in the care of and funeral arrangements for Nelson Mandela saw 84 specially designed and minted medals awarded by President Jacob Zuma at AFB Waterkloof on Sunday.

Among the recipients were 76 serving and 14 retired members of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) the majority of them SA Military Health Service members, and 30 private medical doctors.

Zuma told those on parade at the Centurion air force base they were there to honour “those men and women in uniform who took care of our gallant leader when he was ill”.

“The awards are also bestowed to soldiers who participated in the burial preparations, the laying in state at the Union Buildings and those who ensured our beloved leader was accorded a befitting State funeral,” the SANDF Commander-in-Chief said.
  Read More...

Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 08 December 2014
The South African Competition Commission has recommended the sale of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (LSSA) to state owned defence group Denel go ahead as the transaction is not likely to lead to reduced competition.

The Commission met on 2 December and discussed the sale and in a subsequent statement to the media, it said that, “the Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the merger involving Denel SOC Limited (Denel) and BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa Proprietary Limited (LSSA) be approved without conditions.

“Denel controls various other firms and intends to acquire 100% shares of the LSSA…The Commission found that the transaction is unlikely to lead to a substantial prevention or lessening of competition. The transaction is unlikely to raise public interest concerns.”

In August BAE Systems and Denel signed an agreement to proceed with the sale, valued at R855 million ($79.85 million), which was anticipated to conclude during the fourth quarter of this year after receiving regulatory and other approvals.

“This proposed sale will further shape our portfolio around our core capabilities in tracked, combat and amphibious vehicles and weapon systems, which represent markets where we possess strong franchise positions and discriminating capabilities,” stated Erwin Bieber, president of BAE Systems, Inc.’s Platforms & Services sector.
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