South African soldiers will exit Sudan no later than April 15
This week’s announcement that South Africa would be withdrawing its military component from the hybrid AU/UN mission in Sudan has been confirmed with the withdrawal date set down for April 15 and not April 1 as stated by the Presidency. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) confirmed a note verbale had been received from the South African permanent mission to the world body informing it of a government decision to withdraw its contingent from Darfur. “Discussions on the matter have taken place and the mutually agreed date for the cease of operations is April 15. 2016,” a UN spokesman said. The decision to withdraw from Sudan came only a day after a Cabinet international relations and co-operation briefing had indicated the contributions made by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to peace missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan. This came three days after defence force Commander-in-Chief, President Jacob Zuma, used the Armed Forces Day event in Port Elizabeth to draw attention to the efforts of South Africa in the two missions. “South Africa is passionate about peacekeeping and that is why its armed forces are ready to take part in peace support operations. Our soldiers have continued to perform exceptionally well in peace missions and have done us proud,” Zuma said.