Source: Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews (Tshwane)

South Africa: Army Tests Abilities to Handle Hooliganism During 2010


The South African Army held an exercise in Bloemfontein on Thursday to test their ability to handle soccer hooligans and other types of conflict ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Chairman of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) and owner of Orlando Pirates, Dr Irvin Khoza said Exercise Young Eagle would be implemented practically if any form of hooliganism erupts during the world cup.

Soccer hooliganism refers to planned fights between opposing soccer fans, disruptive and violent behaviour at matches, vandalism and intimidation.

"This exercise is a crucial move towards the preparations of the world cup. The army has the capability to handle civil unrest and all forms of riots, therefore we will rely on them to protect our airspace and borders during the soccer world cup," Mr Khoza told BuaNews.

Mr Khoza, who was recently appointed honorary Colonel and Chief of logistics of the SA army, landed at the Bloemspruit Air Force Base wearing the SA military uniform.

Military representatives from 24 countries attended the annual exercise including Canada, Thailand and South Korea.

The live airborne attack demonstrations at De Brug training area, began with six parachute corps jumping from the aircrafts at a height of about 2 500 metres. The main force was dropped by Oryx helicopters.

Once on the ground, the soldiers regrouped to carry out their attack. The soldiers demonstrated a "fire belt action" which is when they fire all weapons simultaneously, with the help of helicopters above.

The fire belt action comprised of a 7.62mm light machine gun, 40mm multiple grenade launcher, 60mm patmor, 12.7mm browning machine gun, RPG rocket launcher and 81mm mortar.

The troops that participated in the exercise included members of the Military Skills Development System.

South African National Defence (SANDF) Major General, Vusi Masondo told BuaNews the exercise was crucial in ensuring members mastered the skills they had been trained in.

The SA army would work hand in hand with the South African Police Service during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup which will take place from 14 to 28 June 2009.

Mr Masondo further announced that the next annual event aimed at training and exercising the SA army's airborne and Air Assault Forces to enhance airborne capability and combat readiness, will be staged in February 2010.

Source: Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews (Tshwane)

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