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6 SANDF Members Killed Following Northern Cape Veld Fire – SA army

Six South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members were killed and three others seriously injured following a runaway veld fire in the Northern Cape on Friday afternoon.

According to the South African Army, the fire swept through their combat training centre at Lohatla.

The SA National Defence Union (Sandu) had earlier said five soldiers were killed, but the SA army has clarified that the death toll stands at six.

Shortly before 2pm on Friday, a fire from a nearby mine rolled over into the western part of the SA Army’s combat training centre.

The runaway veld fire was driven by strong winds that reached up to 70 kilometres per hour.

SA Army’s Major General Rene Mecuur said soldiers were in the area preparing for a forthcoming army exercise.

“Elements of the SA army are currently deployed in the vicinity in preparation for the annual SA army exercise known as exercise Vuk’uhlome and were deployed in the vicinity when the fire occurred.”

Mecuur said six soldiers were killed and three others sustained secondary-degree burns.

“The South African army is currently assessing the situation on the ground and further information regarding this incident will be communicated in due course as the investigation is still underway.”

The identities of the soldiers are expected to be released once their next of kin have been notified.