Two More South African Soldiers Killed In Angola
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Two more South African soldiers were killed in combat in Angola, and at least 24 are hospitalized for treatment of battlefield wounds, defense officials said.
The latest deaths, announced Tuesday night, raise to 21 the number of white South African soldiers killed in Angola in the past three weeks during stepped-up South African intervention in the Angolan civil war.
The toll could rise to 22 if an air force pilot missing after his jet fighter crashed in Angola on Sunday is reported to have died.
Four soldiers from South-West Africa, the South African territory commonly known as Namibia, also have been killed in Angola during the three-week period.
Army headquarters said the latest casualties were two 20-year-old corporals killed in fighting Monday in the southeastern Angolan province of Cuando Cubango.
South Africa announced a week ago that its forces had intervened in Angola on behalf of UNITA, the rebel movement led by Jonas Savimbi. It was the first time in a decade that South Africa had acknowledged providing more than logistical support to the rebels.
UNITA, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, has been fighting since 1975 to force the Soviet- and Cuban-backed Marxist government to negotiate a power-sharing agreement.
Savimbi, who also receives support from the United States, last week claimed to have routed a major government offensive.
He has expressed annoyance at South African claims that its intervention saved UNITA from possible defeat and at the announcement that South African President P.W. Botha visited the battlefield.
South African newspapers today quoted military sources as saying South Africa’s main combat role at the moment would be to shell retreating government troops from long-range positions while UNITA forces handled direct engagements.
The state-controlled South African Broadcasting Corp. quoted defense officials as saying 24 soldiers wounded in Angola were being treated at a military hospital in Pretoria. It said 18 other wounded soldiers had been discharged from the hospital.