Army Chief Outlines Plans For Troop Withdrawal
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) _ The planned withdrawal of South African troops from Namibia will cost about $62 million, and more than 100,000 tons of equipment will be removed, the armed forces chief said today.
Gen. Jannie Geldenhuys also told reporters that South Africa did not plan to move any extra troops into Walvis Bay, an enclave owned by South Africa on the Namibian coast.
Critics of South Africa have claimed existing military bases in Walvis Bay will be expanded during the withdrawal.
Earlier this week, South African officials at the United Nations denied an assertion that there were 100,000 South African troops in Namibia. Geldenhuys declined to disclose the correct figure, citing security concerns.
He said equipment moved from Namibia’s far-northern war zone to military headquarters in Pretoria would cover more than 1,050 miles.
South Africa has ruled Namibia since 1915, but has agreed to yield control of the mineral-rich former German colony in accordance with a U.N. plan for the territory’s independence. Implementation is scheduled to begin April 1, and independence elections are to take place Nov. 1.
Geldenhuys said all but 12,000 South African troops would be withdrawn by mid-May and all but 1,500 would be out by Nov. 1.
On Thursday, Namibia’s transitional government announced it would disband March 1 in preparation for the independence process.
After April 1, when a U.N. monitoring force is to arrive, the territory will be administered jointly by U.N. and South African officials until independence.