South Africa’s commitment to AU/UN mission in Sudan is over
The South African commitment to peacekeeping in Sudan is officially over with 8 SA Infantry Battalion due to start a gradual withdrawal next Friday (April 15). There has been a South African military presence in the east African country since July 2004 under the Operation Cordite codename that started with the deployment of a handful of staff officers and observers to AMIS, the then African Union Mission in Sudan that was transformed into UNAMID, a hybrid African Union/United Nations mission. When AMIS was terminated at the end of 2007 to become the first hybrid AU/UN peacekeeping mission on the continent, South Africa was aboard and responded to a request to increase its commitment to a standard UN infantry battalion. Since then the South African military presence has been constant at around the 800 mark with various full-time force and Reserve Force units and regiments serving in the troubled east African country. SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Directorate Corporate Communications said this week, in response to a defenceWeb enquiry dated March 8, the withdrawal of South African military elements from Sudan was authorised by SANDF Commander-in-Chief, President Jacob Zuma, as from April 1.