South Africa’s Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said Namibia has committed itself to withdrawing all its troops from the DRC by the end of next month, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported on Thursday. Lekota told SABC he received the assurance from his Namibian counterpart Errki Nghimtina. Namibia has about 2,000 Namibian Defence Force (NDF) troops in the DRC, where they have been fighting since 1998 alongside government forces and troops from Angola and Zimbabwe against rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda.
Nghimtina told journalists on Thursday that Namibia suffered “minimal losses” , with a total of “only 30” NDF soldiers killed in the DRC. “Whenever you are in a war you will have casualties. Our casualties are not as high as the others,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uganda welcomed Namibia’s decision to completely withdraw from the DRC. “It is a welcome development if it is done according to the Lusaka peace agreement. We hope that everybody will withdraw from the DRC so that negotiations could begin,” AFP quoted Ugandan minister of state for defence Amama Mbabazi as saying.
Mbabazi said Uganda had itself withdrawn thousands of troops from the DRC in recent weeks and was committed to a full withdrawal, but it would maintain a small force in the DRC to ensure security along its common border.