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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?”

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.

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."

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:

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.

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.

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

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
Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Gunmen killed a driver with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday in an attack on his aid truck as it headed across northern Mali towards Niger, the ICRC and Red Cross officials said.

The identity of the attackers was unknown. Mali's desert north suffers frequent militant attacks despite a French-led operation to drive out Islamist fighters in the wake of a Tuareg uprising there in 2012.

A staff member of the Mali Red Cross is in a stable condition after being injured in the attack, said a statement by Yasmine Praz Dessimoz, head of ICRC operations for North and West Africa, adding that details remained unclear.

"He (the truck driver Hamadoun) was driving a truck from Gao to (Niger's capital) Niamey ... to collect much-needed medical equipment for Gao hospital. His death is not only a tragedy for his family and for the ICRC, it will affect the life and well-being of tens of thousands of people," Dessimoz said.

A Malian Red Cross official said the attack took place around 40 km (25 miles) outside Gao.

Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Air raids by a Saudi-led coalition again hit Houthi militia targets across Yemen on Monday night, striking the group's northern stronghold of Saadeh, the capital, Sanaa, and the central town of Yarim, residents and media said.

"There were huge blazes in the mountains outside Sanaa. It looks like they hit a missile depot and it was on fire for half an hour or so. Then there was anti-aircraft fire until dawn," a Sanaa resident said.

The strikes, which began on Thursday, are aimed at stopping the Houthis from taking more territory and pressing them and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to negotiate a power-sharing deal with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Houthis are from a Yemeni Shi'ite sect and are allied to Iran, Saudi Arabia's main regional rival. The Saudis and other Sunni Muslim countries in the region fear the advance of the Houthis will ultimately threaten the world's top oil exporter.

However, the Houthis and forces loyal to Saleh have continued to advance on the southern port of Aden, the last big centre still under control of Hadi, who left Yemen on Thursday and is now in Riyadh with other members of his government.

Written by defenceWeb, Tuesday, 31 March 2015

SAA (South African Airways) has completed its 90 Day Action Plan, a roadmap designed to return the carrier to relative stability.

It was developed to return the business to full implementation of its broader and now refined turnaround plan, the Long-Term Turnaround Strategy.

“We worked closely with our shareholding Ministry, National Treasury, to work toward and realise the objectives of the 90 Day Action Plan. SAA has returned to relative stability,” the airline’s acting chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout said.

The plan comprised six main areas of focus as tasked by the SAA board. These were to immediately address the airline’s liquidity position, its ongoing solvency and medium-term funding requirements.

Among the interventions decided on are: immediate investigation of options to future-fund the business; substantial focus on governance defects and remedies: legal and high-level governance; re-organisation and optimisation of assets and improved communication.

Written by Kim Helfrich, Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Proof Africans are active contributors to peacekeeping operations on their continent comes in the latest UN statistics, which show that no less than 10 African countries make the top 15 list of contributors to UN operations with by far the majority of them serving in continental peacekeeping and peace support missions.

The continent is represented all the way down the list to 120, the final country internationally contributing to peacekeeping operations. This position goes to Guinea-Bissau.

At the top end of the list is Ethiopia, number four behind Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. The East African country has made 7 858 people comprising troops, military experts and police, available to the world body to serve in peacekeeping and peace support missions in Africa.

Other top African contributors to the nine UN peacekeeping missions on the continent are Rwanda (5 660), Senegal (3 079), Ghana (3 012), Nigeria (2 961), Egypt (2 673), Morocco (2 310), Tanzania (2 278), South Africa (2 153) and Burkina Faso (1 994).

The final country in the top 15 of UN contributors is China at position 11 with 2 370 people.

Written by Guy Martin, Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Saab has received large follow-on orders for integrated self-protection systems for installation on the Indian Army and Air Force’s Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters in deals worth approximately $78 million.

The Dhruv’s manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) ordered additional Integrated Defensive Aids Suites (IDAS), which warn against radar, laser and infrared (IR) guided threats and automatically deploy appropriate countermeasures. IDAS has been designed for both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Saab also produces protection systems for both land and naval applications.

Production of the IDAS system will take place at Saab Grintek Defence’s facilities in Centurion, with deliveries set to take place between 2015 and 2018. In addition to the production orders received, Saab also received orders for IDAS ground support and test equipment for the Dhruv programme. Chris Skinner, head of marketing and sales at Saab Grintek Defence, said that Saab and HAL are in talks over the production of IDAS components in India.

Anne Lewis-Olsson, Vice President Communication Sub Sahara Africa for Saab Grintek Defence, said the Indian order is huge for Saab Grintek Defence and will have good long-term implications for the company. She said it will also retain skills and competence in South Africa.

Written by Guy Martin, Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Patria is manufacturing the first 16 Badger platforms for the South African Army in Finland before production is handed over to South Africa, with the first complete Badger systems set to be delivered to the Army in late 2016, according to Denel Land Systems (DLS).

Stephan Burger, CEO of DLS, said that although there were slippages with the development programme due to technical challenges, good progress was made with the Section Variant having undergone preliminary operational testing and evaluation by the SA Army. Initial feedback is very positive. The Command Variant has undergone final development tests.

Burger told defenceWeb that in December 2015 a Badger missile system was successfully tested up to a 5 km firing range while the new 30 mm CamGun exceeds expectations.

Burger said that platform production was on schedule, with Patria manufacturing the first Badger platforms in Finland before they are shipped to South Africa for final assembly and systems integration. DLS is still readying local production facilities, which will initially be at its factory. DLS may consider transferring the production of the Badger platforms to BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (LSSA), once LSSA has been taken over by Denel. This process, Burger said, could take several months to conclude.

Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Chilean Navy will contribute a ship to the European Union’s Operation Atalanta anti-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden region.

This emerged from a meeting last week between Spanish defence minister Pedro Morenes and his Chilean counterpart Jorge Burgos. The meeting was held in Santiago, Chile, and discussed various levels of military cooperation. The Spanish defence ministry said that Chile and Spain would also explore the possibility of Chilean soldiers joining Spanish peacekeeping missions.

Spain has been a big contributor to the EU Naval Force off Somalia, sending over a dozen warships as well as aircraft since 2008. In addition to Spain, naval assets from France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Italy, UK, United States, Russia, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Malaysia and India, among others, have contributed vessels and aircraft in the area of operations.

Spain currently has the warships ESPS Infanta Cristina and ESPS Rayo patrolling in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 30 March 2015

A hotel siege by al Shabaab militants in the Somali capital has ended and the final death toll from the attack stands at 14, a senior government official said on Saturday.

Al Shabaab fighters blasted and shot their way into the popular Hotel Maka Al Mukaram on Friday afternoon, trapping many government officials.

Security personnel, led by a unit from the elite U.S.-trained special forces troops known as "Gaashaan" (Shield) stormed the hotel on Friday evening and fought the attackers into Saturday.

Mohamed Abdi, information minister, said the 14 dead included Somalia's ambassador to Geneva, five civilians, four hotel guards and four government soldiers. Four attackers, including one who detonated a car bomb, were also killed.

"The hotel operation is over and these are the dead bodies of the militants who wanted to slaughter our people. Thanks to our forces who saved our people in the hotel," he said at the scene while displaying the militants' bodies to reporters.

Written by defenceWeb/UN, Monday, 30 March 2015

The first-ever United Nations Chiefs of Defence Conference saw Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appeal to senior military officials for more troop contributions from states around the world and for political will and purpose.

"We need unity and backing. Effective performance demands broad consensus on why, where and how peacekeepers carry out their mandates,” he told Friday’s gathering.

The event brought together chiefs of defence and senior military officials from more than 100 member states to discuss issues central to UN peacekeeping as part of a wider process of engagement by the UN with member states to expand the peacekeeping partnership and promote effective and efficient implementation of mandates.

Held in the ECOSOC Chamber the conference was also addressed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, and Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support.

Ban told the gathered soldiers threats to peacekeepers were on the rise, with more deaths year-on-year now than ever before.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 30 March 2015

The United Nations Security Council expressed concern on Friday at the proliferation of arms and ammunition in Libya as it left an arms embargo on the North African state unchanged and urged the recognised government to improve monitoring of its weapons.

Libya and neighbouring Egypt asked the 15-member council last month to lift restrictions on government weapons imports so it could better fight extremist groups after Islamic State released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.

Libya has descended into factional fighting, leaving the country almost lawless nearly four years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Two competing governments backed by militia brigades are scrambling for control of the oil-producing country and the chaos has created havens for Islamist militants.

Libya's internationally recognised government, led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, has operated out of the east since a rival armed faction called Libya Dawn took over Tripoli in fighting last year and set up its own administration.

The Libyan government is already allowed to import weapons and related materiel with the approval of a Security Council committee overseeing the embargo imposed in 2011 when Gaddafi forces cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

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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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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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