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

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News April 2015
Written by Reuters, Friday, 24 April 2015

Italian investigators are piecing together a picture of beatings and abuse that hundreds of Africans and Bangladeshis suffered before setting sail from Libya to Ital, only to drown late on Saturday in one of the worst migrant shipwrecks ever in the Mediterranean.

Among the testimonies prosecutors have gathered from 28 survivors are recollections of several people being beaten to death by people traffickers in a Tripoli farmhouse as they waited to set sail. One man was killed when he stood up on a rubber dinghy without permission, prosecutors said.

More than 700 people, most locked into the hold and lower deck of a 20-metre-long fishing boat, are believed to have drowned instantly when the overloaded vessel capsized after colliding with a Portuguese merchant ship coming to its aid some 70 nautical miles off the coast of Libya.

Prosecutors in Catania are building a case against a 27-year-old Tunisian who they suspect sunk the boat by deliberately colliding it three times against the merchant ship. A judge is due to decide whether to confirm the arrest. Massimo Ferrante, a lawyer representing the Tunisian, said his client says he was just a passenger on the ship not the captain.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 24 April 2015

Somali and African forces aim to drive al Shabaab Islamist militants out of one of the last major tracts of territory in southern Somalia the group still holds and which it uses to launch attacks the Somali prime minister said.

Omar Sharmarke also told Reuters he was pressing Kenya to reopen Somali money transfer firms that are a lifeline to many in Somalia but whose licenses Nairobi suspended after al Shabaab raided a north Kenyan university this month killing 148 people.

Al Shabaab has been driven out of major towns and coastal strongholds since an African Union peacekeeping force and the Somali national army launched an offensive last year.

But the group, which wants to topple Somalia's Western-backed government, still holds rural areas, such as the Juba valley corridor that leads to the strategic southern port of Kismayu, where a Kenyan contingent of AU troops is based.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 24 April 2015

Opposing groups of government soldiers in South Sudan's Upper Nile state fought for a third day on Thursday, a ruling party official said, adding the defence minister will travel to the region in a bid to defuse the situation.

Fighting has broken out in the state capital, Malakal, between soldiers protecting state governor Simon Kun Puoch and soldiers loyal to Johnson Olony, a major general in the South Sudan Army (SPLA), acting state information minister Galuak Lith Hoth Dieu said.

Thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan and more than a million have fled their homes since fighting between supporters of President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar started in the world's youngest country in December 2013.

Several peace deals have been reached but broken and each side accuses the other of violating one announced in early February. The conflict has also created a humanitarian crisis.
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Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 24 April 2015

The single largest military training area in South Africa was aptly home to what is believed to be the single largest training simulation exercise yet staged by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

The SA Army’s Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohathla in Northern Cape saw about 180 students from three different military courses take on a three week long constructive simulation exercise. The war gaming exercise replaces a live field training exercise and is conducted at a fraction of the cost of the real McCoy.

“The practical value of constructive simulation, also known as war gaming, was well illustrated by the exercise,” said JC van Schalkwyk of BattleTek constructive Simulation.
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Written by Guy Martin, Friday, 24 April 2015

Forty millimetre grenade specialist since 1981, Milkor Pty Ltd is working on a couple of new products that will be revealed in the next six months, including a high volume less lethal system.

While reluctant to reveal too much detail on the other project, a weapon with long range applications, Andre da Silva, Manager: Marketing and Technical Support at Milkor, told defenceWeb that to his knowledge the high volume less lethal system will be the first such weapon in 37/38 and 40 mm calibre. He said there is huge demand for such a system, especially given the number of riot situations in the world at the moment. Qualification will take between six to eight months.

Da Silva said that Milkor’s flagship Super Six multi-shot grenade launcher is “going like a bomb”. This latest evolution of their six-shot multiple grenade launcher (MGL) features a new recoil reduction system, redesigned stock and new optics. It can fire low velocity, medium velocity and less lethal rounds. The medium velocity rounds can be fired at ranges in excess of 800 metres.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 24 April 2015

Nigeria's military said on Thursday it was still advancing on Islamist group Boko Haram's last known stronghold, dismissing reports land mines had forced a retreat.

A pro-government vigilante and a security source earlier said troops pulled back from the Sambisa forest after three vigilantes were killed driving over an anti-vehicle mine.

"It's not true that our troops are retreating, in fact we are still marching forward in Sambisa. Our troops are still in there," Defence spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade said by telephone.

Earlier, a soldier who asked not to be named said: "The soldiers have retreated to Bama because of mines. They had been on the road but that made them vulnerable, so they moved to the bush but there are mines planted there too."
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Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 24 April 2015

“Financial misconduct, fruitless and wasteful expenditure can bring the National Defence Force to a halt” reads of full page exhortation in SA Soldier, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) official publication.

With Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula due to present her budget vote in the National Assembly on May 19 the first Department of Defence (DoD) finance indaba recently took place at Wonderboom military base.

Attended by about 130 delegates the indaba stemmed from the Plenary Defence Staff Council’s realisation to involve DoD financial stakeholders and those from National Treasury to assist in making best use of the financial allocation granted to the Defence Ministry and the SANDF by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

In his opening remarks Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, stressed that every member of the DoD should understand and realise the importance of sound financial management.
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Written by defenceWeb, Thursday, 23 April 2015

About 20 trainee paramedics in the SA Military Health Services (SAMHS) maintain they are not being cared for by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) while they are trained to supply primary healthcare to their fellow soldiers.

According to Gauteng Afrikaans daily Beeld the group have not been paid at all this year. It appears their details have gone missing “somewhere in the system” and the lack of response from SAMHS and the defence force saw them approach Netwerk24 as a last resort.

The paper said the group were part of more than 200 selected for the emergency medical course after completing their first year of military training in the medical arm of service. Their contracts expired at the end of December and they were advised to join the Reserve Force because “there is no more money for volunteers”.

A family member of one of the affected trainees said while it appeared the military did not want them they were still made to stand inspections – “for which they have to buy their own polish” – and also had to take part in sports parades where the possibility of injury is increased. This is also disconcerting to the trainees and their families because as matters currently stand they do not have access to military healthcare.

What can be seen as the apparent straw that broke the camel’s back came recently when they were told their course would be cancelled if they continued to complain about not receiving salaries.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 23 April 2015

The European Union must take a collective stand to tackle migrant trafficking at its source in African countries, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Wednesday ahead of an emergency summit of the bloc's leaders to discuss the crisis.

Up to 900 people were feared dead after their boat sank on its way to Europe from Libya at the weekend including many women and children locked below deck, prompting calls for joint action to stop the flow of migrants fleeing war and hardship in Africa.

The deaths caused shock in Europe where a decision to scale back naval operations last year seems to have increased the risks for migrants without reducing their numbers.

EU officials, worried about encouraging people to make the crossing just as economic troubles in some European countries fan concerns over immigration, have struggled to come up with a response but proposed doubling rescue operations on Monday.

Renzi spoke as Italian navy and coast guard vessels were taking more than 1,200 migrants rescued in other operations since Monday to ports across southern Italy. One ship carrying 545 migrants, including 174 women and children, was heading to Salerno, on the mainland south of Naples, to ease the strain on overcrowded centres receiving migrants in ports in Sicily.
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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 23 April 2015

Fighting in South Sudan's oil-producing Upper Nile State in the past two days has killed at least 38 and the toll could rise, a military spokesman said on Wednesday, while aid groups said they may be forced to trim operations.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than a million have fled their homes since fighting between supporters of President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar erupted in the world's newest nation in December 2013.

Several ceasefires have been agreed and broken and each side accuses the other of violating one announced in early February.

Army Spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer said in the first incident, South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers fought rebel forces allied to Machar outside Malakal, killing 36 of them and repulsing the rest.

Aguer said in a second incident, fighting between guards protecting the governor of Upper Nile and soldiers under Johnson Olony, a Major General in the South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) from the Shilluk tribe in Upper Nile, killed two.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
Written by Kim Helfrich, Friday, 27 February 2015

Ex Good HopeThe quiet buzz around Simon’s Town in anticipation of Exercise Good Hope goes up in the decibel level on Monday when a gun salute marks the start of the bi-national exercise between the South African and German navies.

Between Monday and Friday, March 27, when the end exercise happens, German and South African warships and aircraft, fixed and rotary-winged, will take part in numerous exercises, both at sea and in port.

This is the sixth edition of the Good Hope exercise and the tasks set for participants range from navigation and transit exercises through to air defence, gunnery, surface, tactical, electronic warfare and casualty evacuation. Replenishment at sea (RAS) is another task, in which the German navy supply ship Berlin will be the major roleplayer. The firefighting skills of both navies will also be put to the test during a simulated harbour fire.
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Written by Kim Helfrich, Friday, 27 February 2015

Armscor wants to service the SANDFThe new chairman and board of directors are turning Armscor into an entity that appears to want to nurture and grow the local defence industry and provide the military with value for money products.

Proof of this comes in a statement issued this week that indicates the state’s defence acquisition agency had by the end of January paid R4.5 billion of its total projected cash flow of R8.2 billion to the defence industry for the current financial year.

“The remainder is expected to be paid during February and March,” General Manager: Marketing And Business Development, Lulu Mzili, said.

Chairman Johannes Mudimu, a former SA Navy Chief, said Armscor was not a regulator of the local defence industry. “It is an equal partner in ensuring the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is allowed to deliver on its mandate,” he said in reference to equipping the country’s military with the right equipment at the right price and at the right time.

This approach saw Mudimu and his co-directors last year visit Armscor facilities across the country and engage with AMD (the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association). They went to Gerotek, the Institute for Maritime Technology, Protechnik Laboratories, the Dockyard at Simon’s Town and others.
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BY AGENCY STAFF, FEBRUARY 27 2015, 11:46 - Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LISA HNATOWICZ

The information arises from two State Security Agency (SSA) presentations, which are among several leaked documents the broadcaster obtained.

According to the presentations, the foiled attack came to light through Jermaine Grant, who was arrested in Kenya in December 2011 for alleged links to terrorism.

During his arrest police found materials similar to those used during the July 7 2005 suicide bomb attacks in London.

The presentations stated that a financier arrested in April/May of 2011 said he was tasked by al-Qaeda figure Harun al-Fadul, also known as Harun Fazul, to go to the United Arab Emirates and meet another person regarding the attack in SA.

The purpose of the meeting was to get money to carry out the bomb attack in SA, which would involve five suicide bombers.
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Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 27 February 2015

A C-130 Hercules.United States embassy officials in Addis Ababa have confirmed that the Ethiopian government has received a single Lockheed C-130E Hercules transport aircraft from the United States for tactical airlift of troops and equipment to support Ethiopian participation in AU and UN peacekeeping operations.

The aircraft was previously operated by the Puerto Rico National Guard where it was flown by the 198th Airlift Squadron, according to Air Forces Daily. After retirement from the US Air Force, it was put in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in September, 2013, having flown a total of 22 739 flight hours. Early the following year it was taken out of storage and prepared for delivery to Ethiopia. The aircraft in early June 2014 flew to Ethiopia, making stops in Canada and the United Kingdom.

A statement from the US embassy in Addis Ababa said the donation came with full training support for Ethiopian pilots, technicians and engineers with specially focused programmes on navigation and maintenance processes. An embassy spokesperson said there are no existing plans to provide any additional aircraft.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 27 February 2015

The Zambian flag.Zambia's former mines minister, Maxwell Mwale, was jailed for corruption on Friday, in a rare case that prompted calls for a wider crackdown on graft among public officials.

Mwale, a former cabinet minister in Africa's second-largest copper producing nation, was sentenced to a year in jail with hard labour after he was found to have interfered in the granting of mining licences to China's Zhonghui International Mining Group.

Magistrate Lameck Mwale said during sentencing that corruption in Zambia's government had "become rampant and needs to be stopped", but Mwale's supporters said the case was politically motivated.

Mwale was an opponent of former president Michael Sata, who died last year and was succeeded by his ally in the ruling Patriotic Front, President Edgar Lungu.

"The offence he committed is something all ministers do and nobody raises an eyebrow," Mwale's cousin, Wallace Kamanga, told Reuters outside the court in Lusaka.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 27 February 2015

Omar al-Bashir.Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said he will stand aside in 2020 if he is elected for one more term in April elections, in an interview published by France's Le Monde newspaper on Thursday.

The announcement by the 71-year-old, who is wanted on charges of genocide and war crimes by the International Criminal Court, will refocus attention on his extended rule after 25 years in power.

Bashir had previously signalled he would step down this year, but his National Congress Party chose him as its candidate in October, all but assuring his success against a fractured and weakened opposition.

"According to the interim constitution adopted in 2005... the head of state can serve two terms," he told the French daily. "So for me, it will be the last mandate and, if elected, I will leave power in 2020."

Opposition figures have said the continued rule of Bashir -- facing an ICC arrest warrant that has prevented him travelling to many countries -- has exacerbated Sudan's isolation from global financial and political institutions.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 27 February 2015

Wreckage from a bus station bombing in Nigeria.Boko Haram bombers killed 23 people on Thursday, authorities said, as the Islamist insurgents fight back against a military offensive launched by Nigeria and three neighbouring countries.

A suicide bomber at a bus station in Biu, a town in northeastern Borno state, killed at least 17 people, a military source and local vigilante Ibrahim Jaton said. A crowd beat a second bomber to death before he could detonate his device.

Shortly afterwards, two roadside bombs exploded in the city of Jos in the highly volatile Middle Belt where the largely Christian south meets the Muslim north, killing six people.

"A young man came to Tashan Gandu motor park and our boys stopped him for search at the check point but he refused to stop and all we heard was a loud sound," Jaton said of the Biu blast. "The whole spot was scattered within minutes."

Suicide bombings have become a common tactic for Boko Haram in the last year as the group expanded its control over territory in Africa's biggest oil producer and top economy.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 27 February 2015

Egyptian police.Two Egyptian policemen accused of killing a lawyer in custody were detained on Thursday on the orders of an Egyptian prosecutor, judicial sources said, a rare action against members of the security forces.

The officers, a lieutenant colonel and a major, will be held for four days pending investigations in to the death of Karim Hamdy on Tuesday, sources at the prosecutor's office said, and could be charged with murder.

Hamdy, 27, died from torture two days after his arrest and the initial forensic report showed he had sustained fractures in the ribs, bruises and bleeding in the chest and head, they said.

Dozens of lawyers staged a protest outside a Cairo court to protest about Hamdy's death. They carried pictures of him and chanted "the Interior Ministry are thugs".

Hamdy was arrested at his home on charges of taking part in anti-government protests organised by the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement that the army removed from power in mid-2013.
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Written by Reuters, Friday, 27 February 2015

The US military has ended Ebola relief efforts in Liberia.The United States military officially ended a mission to build treatment facilities to combat an Ebola outbreak in Liberia on Thursday, months earlier than expected, in the latest indication that a year-long epidemic in West Africa is waning.

Washington launched the mission five months ago and the force peaked at over 2,800 troops at a time when Liberia was at the epicentre of the worst Ebola epidemic on record.

Nearly 10,000 people have died in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea over the past year. More than 4,000 of those deaths were in Liberia, but the number of new cases has plummeted in recent months, leaving many treatment centres empty and the mission has already begun winding down.

"While our large scale military mission is ending...the fight to get to zero cases will continue and the (Joint Force Command) has ensured capabilities were brought that will be sustained in the future," said U.S. Army Major General Gary Volesky.

The troops were deployed to support the international Ebola response mission led by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The operation was initially expected to last between nine and 12 months, said Volesky, the mission's commander.
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Written by Oscar Nkala, Friday, 27 February 2015

Canadian soldiers with other African and European soldiers.The Canadian Armed Forces have ordered the withdrawal and relocation of Canadian special forces from the town of Diffa in Niger after it came under sustained mortar and ground attacks by Boko Haram militants.

Last week, Boko Haram launched a full-scale assault on Diffa leading to the government declaration of a regional state of emergency and the launch of an army counter-offensive which prompted the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) to relocate its special forces instructors to an unspecified safe place in the interior of the country.

The troops from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) are in Niger to train local army special forces in anti-terrorism operations and advanced skills which include weapons handling, shooting, communication system and mission planning as part of Exercise Flintlock, an annual U.S.-sponsored military exercise which runs with African forces until March 9.

“This was seen as a prudent measure given the current security situation [and] in order to allow participants from every nation to concentrate on getting as much out of Exercise Flintlock 15 training as possible.

"The government of Canada takes the situation with Boko Haram very seriously, the safety of our personnel is a top priority. All members are safe and well-situated in a secure environment,” Canadian military spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier told the Globe and Mail.
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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.
  Read More...

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
  Read More...

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
  Read More...




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.
  Read More...

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.
  Read More...

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.
  Read More...




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