6SAI honoured in Grahamstown parade

A TRIUMPHANT 6 SA Infantry Battalion, fresh from their peace enforcement successes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, celebrated with a Freedom of the City parade in Grahamstown yesterday.

The 6SAI battalion last year sent close to 900 infantrymen, under the command of LieutenantColonel Altin Gysman, to the DRC as part of the United Nations’ New Force Intervention Brigade – the first UN peace enforcement unit specifically tasked to carry out offensive operations.

The parade was held to honour the infantry battalion.

They returned earlier this year, without having lost a single soldier in the heated battles waged against the rebels in the DRC.

The rebels, on the other hand, lost hundreds in their skirmishes with, among others, 6SAI.

Chief of the SA Army Lieutenant-General Vusimuzi Masondo attributed their successes to having learnt lessons from the disastrous Central African Republic experience – during which some 13 South African soldiers died.

He said the mission to the CAR had not anticipated the massive onslaught from rebels and had not been adequately resourced to deal with it.

He said they were deeply privileged and honoured by the Freedom of the City parade hosted by Makana Municipality.

Addressing the troops in front of the city hall, Makana mayor Zamuxolo Peter said the citizens were grateful that the brave soldiers had returned unharmed.

“6SAI made us proud,” he said.

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