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S. Africa awaits UN order to send more artillery to DRC: general

PRETORIA, Aug. 31 — South Africa is waiting for a UN order to send more artillery to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to strengthen the UN-led peace mission there, a South African general said on Friday.

South Africa is ready to send additional weaponry to the war- torn country should the UN requests, said LT-General Derrick Mgwebi, who leads the South African troops in the DRC peace mission.

The UN was required to sign documentation before additional weaponry was sent to the DRC and pay for the further deployments it requested, Mgwebi said at a press briefing in Pretoria.

The South African soldiers in the DRC were well equipped, he said.

He was speaking as fighting in the DRC flared up, during which three South African soldiers sustained minor injuries.

"The families of the soldiers have been informed .. and they understand the situation," said Mgwebi.

He warned the DRC M23 rebels not to try and retake the battleground city of Goma, the capital of the eastern province of North Kivu.

"We're trying to send a message to the M23, this time around you're not going to see Goma," said Mgwebi. "Don't venture in ideas of taking over again."

Goma was briefly occupied by the M23 rebels in late November 2012 before pulling out to nearby hills under the pressure of the 11 Great Lakes countries to pay the way for talks in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

The South African soldiers numbering more than 1,300 are participating in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) as part of the Force Intervention Brigade mandated by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2098.

The deployment is for the period of June 13, 2013 and March 31, 2014.

Besides South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi have also committed to contributing troops to the brigade whose mission is to engage with rebels in the troubled DRC region. (PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/RSM

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