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South Africa denies reports of ex-soldiers going to join Boko Haram fight

The government of South Africa has dismissed reports alleging that ex-members of its defence forces are heading for Nigeria to assist with controlling the Boko Haram insurgency

This comes as South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma heads to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to join other African leaders at the AU summit this week to discuss on how to fight the rampaging Boko Haram.

Reacting to reports that ex-South African National Defence Force officers are heading to Nigeria to help train Nigerian soldiers, the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane addressed the press and insisted that the government “always discourages South Africans from entering the fray.”

She however confirmed that a new AU rapid response force called the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises, which would comprise of soldiers from up to 11 nations including South Africa, was almost ready to go into action.

Even though the force which was proposed by South Africa is expected to help fight Boko Haram, it is believed that Nigeria – the country most badly affected by the terrorists – is against foreign forces fighting on its soil especially as it is close to next month’s presidential elections where President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a tough re-election battle.

Mashabane has however said that deploying the forces won’t be a big issue and where exactly to deploy them would be one of the things which the 11 nations sending in troops would discuss on the sidelines of the AU summit.

Source: IOL News

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