Six SA Army soldiers were killed yesterday after a fierce veld fire engulfed and charred a military base in the Northern Cape.
Six SA Soldiers Killed In A Wild Fire
The South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) confirmed the tragic incident on its X account earlier today. The incident occurred yesterday in the afternoon. Veld fires moved from Kathu in the Gamagara local municipality to the army combat centre at Lohatla, TimesLIVE reported. The military had deployed soldiers at Lohatla in preparation for the annual SA Army exercise, EXERCISE VUKUHLOME, when tragedy struck.
The SANDF confirmed:
“It is with deep sadness that the South African National Defence Forces wishes to inform the media houses and the public of the fire incident that broke out on 6 October 2023 at about 13.45 at the South Africa Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) in the Northern Cape Province.
“It was reported that six soldiers of the South African Army lost their lives during the incident and three were injured with second-degree burns. They have been evacuated to the nearest hospital. The names of the deceased will be released once the next of kin have been informed.”
The SANDF revealed that the fire spread from a mine next to the military base.
The SANDF reiterated:
“At the moment, the focus is to contain the fire and to account for all members who were in the area where the fire occurred. The fire brigade is doing everything in its power to extinguish the fire which has destroyed camping equipment and vehicles.”
Northern Cape Coghta says their disaster unit has escalated the matter to the head of the national disaster management centre for their intervention. pic.twitter.com/EsaIJHsXfo
— NeriaHlakotsa (@neriahlakotsa) October 6, 2023
Veld Fires In South Africa
Fires have ravaged parts of the country since August, hitting the Northern Cape, Free State and Limpopo the worst. South African farmers have lost billions of rands when the fires razed their crops, livestock and infrastructure.
In September, the North West Umbrella Fire Protection Association appealed for a provincial state of disaster after the veld fires destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of land.