Misanet.com / The Namibian, 28 March - Four Namibia Defence Force (NDF) soldiers, including three who sustained bullet wounds, were recently flown back to the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo Kinshasa, DRC) for treatment. The three wounded soldiers were apparently shot in a skirmish with rebels as a troop pullback in the DRC was taking place.
Vincent Mwange, the chief liaison officer at the Ministry of Defence, yesterday confirmed the arrival of the four men, among them a soldier who became ill as a result of an unknown illness. "There were four NDF members who came back home."
- Three had bullet wounds and one was just an ordinary sickness, said the chief Defence spokesman. "These guys sustained their bullet wounds during the disengagement process. When they were withdrawing the rebels fired on them. They were wounded on the 16th," Mwange said.
Some skirmishes have taken place in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the allied and rebel forces started withdrawing from frontline positions as agreed under the Harare and Kampala disengagement plans.
Earlier this week Rwanda accused its opponents in the DRC of not withdrawing in line with a UN disengagement plan and dismissed the world body's statement that claimed that the pullback was on schedule.
Mwange said Rwanda's accusations were not "specific" enough to warrant a response from the Ministry of Defence.
Earlier this month, on the occation of Nambia's Independence Day, President Nujoma claimed victory in the conflict in the DRC. Nujoma said the Namibia Defence Force's "victories on the battlefield led to the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the Lusaka Peace Accord which provide for the deployment of 500 observers and 5 000 military protectors".
Preseident Nujoma cliamed the Namibian forces had brought peace to the DRC in defiance of what the "prophets of doom" had preached. "Shame on them," he said. "We will continue to put them to shame." Namibia's mission in the DRC had been "accomplished with honour" while acknowledging that the NDF had made "great sacrifices", the President said.
Last month the United Nations said all troops in the Congo should withdraw 15 kilometres from frontline positions within two weeks from March 15 to enable the deployment of UN military observers and support troops to monitor a ceasefire.