Five dead in raging fire at Lohatla South African Army combat centre

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The South African National Defence Force Union says at least five people have died in a raging fire veld at the Lohatla South African Army combat centre in the Northern Cape.

In a statement, the union says four men and one woman perished in the fire while others were left injured.

The fire which has still not been contained has destroyed military vehicles, tents and equipment.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

South African National Defence Force Union National Secterary Pikkie Greef says, “SANDU sends its condolences to the families of those who passed away and wishes the injured members a speedy recovery. The SANDF will be conducting a board of inquiry as by law into, amongst other things, the circumstances in which these soldiers, equipment and vehicles got caught in the fire.”

Calls for intervention

Northern Cape Cooperative Governance spokesperson,  Tshenolo Meruti says the raging fire is still dangerous and they have called for intervention from the National Disaster Management Centre.

Meruti says, “Our disaster unit has escalated the matter to the head of the National Disaster Management Centre for their intervention. The South African National Defence Force activated their own choppers to extinguish the fire. The Fire Protection Association will work closely with them. We will monitor the situation and activate NDMC at their request if they require additional support.”

“We have sadly learned of casualties and severely injured. We will provide more information as it comes in.”