Afrikaner anthropologists chased away like dogs from Angola
20 May 2012 1 Comment
The shocked, traumatised Ebo-Project team comprised of forensic anthropologists and 2 relatives of fallen SADF members, had all the ( confirmed and reconfirmed) written documentation granting them legal permission to remove the bones of their four fallen comrades from informal graves in the village of Ebo, in Angola. link
In September 2009, Pres Jacob Zuma had also confirmed that his government supported these arrangements, and had personally obtained the permission to proceed with the exhumation-plans directly from Angolan president Dos Santos.
“Thousands of young white South African men did compulsory military service in the SADF before 1994’ — Thousands of young white men, most of them often only seventeen, eighteen or nineteen year old, were called on to do compulsory military service in the South African Defence Force before 1994. Others joined the military and became professional soldiers.These men were told that they were fighting for the security of their country in the name of civilization and Christianity against the evil forces of communism. The dust has now long settled on the clashes in Namibia and Angola between the soldiers of 61 Mech and SWAPO, MPLA, Unita, the Soviet Union and the Cubans. In those days the soldiers on both sides fought for a system they believed in, but those days are past now.” quote from: http://www.61mech.org.za/former-foes
The graves of SADF 61st mechanised-battallion conscript Niel Lombard and South African Air Force officers Capt Daniël Taljaard, 2-lt Keith Williamson en 2-lt Eric Thompson were finally located in February after years of research and annual field-trips to Angola by groups of SADF-veterans.
- May 19 2012 Rapport: EMPTY COFFINS OF FOUR FALLEN COMRADES
The empty coffins for four fallen SADF-comrades who died in November 1975 during Operation Savanna in Ebo, Angola. The gravesites were identified in February of SADF 61st mechanised-battallion conscript Niel Lombard,SA Air Force officers Capt Daniël Taljaard, 2-lt Keith Williamson en 2-lt Eric Thompson. Their four military men’s informal graves were traced to Nebo village after years of research during annual field trips by SADF veterans. (Picture: Leon Lombard. Rapport. ) In September 2009, Pres Jacob Zuma had also confirmed that his government supported these arrangements, and obtained the permission to proceed from Angolan president Dos Santos. http://www.61mech.org.za/articles/44-die-ebo-projek
MAY 20 2012 – After months of carefully-documented negotiations with Angolan government officials and after written approval from Mr Serafim du Prado, the governor of Kwanza-Sul province to remove the four bodies of the fallen South African men, a team of eight Afrikaners, headed by retired SADF General-Major Gert Opperman, arrived in Angola. Opperman had reconfirmed their arrival with Do Prado by telephone and also, again in writing. So the team, comprised of forensic anthropologists Prof Maryna Blignaut-Steyn, Prof Willem Boshoff and Coen Nienaber, left for Nebo: he had made firm arrangements for the exhumation-project to take place from May 5 to May 15.A detailed schedule was also submitted to Du Prado.
The team was also accompanied by two relatives of the SADF-men who were going to be brought back home.: Opperman said that when the team arrived in the village of Ebo on the first day of their visit, they were confronted by its deputy-administrator – who spoke of ‘certain traditional matters’ which had to be undertaken before the exhumations could begin, apparently also involving a cash payment of $750 (about R6,200). They duly handed over the cash.
“We paid it and after two hours of exhumation at the first grave-site, we found the remains of the three air-force officers who had been shot down.’ Lombard’s gravesite was also identified – but while the team was preparing to collect the bones for return to South Africa, a group of armed police officers pointed their guns at the unarmed team of forensic anthropologists – and demanded that the Afrikaners had to stop all their activities.
Opperman said they still tried to negotiate to find an ameniable solution acceptable to all sides – but they were brusquely ordered to leave Angola. Thus far the Ebo-project has cost the group R250,000. The team was so traumatised by the highly aggressive event that Opperman had to arrange trauma-counselling for them upon their return. http://www.rapport.co.za/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Groep-kry-berading-na-hul-uit-Angola-verjaag-is-20120519
The three Air Force officers were scheduled for reburial at the Memorial Wall at the Voortrekker Monument, and the fourth SADF member ‘s remains were scheduled for reburial at his family-gravesite on their farm near Riebeeck-Kasteel.
SADF Memorial Wall, Voortrekker Monument – Service on 3 June 2012
The three Air Force officers were killed when their reconnaissance plane was shot down on 25 november 1975 near Ebo by the Cuban military.
And 61st Mechanised Battallion SADF conscript Niel Lombard was killed when his armoured vehicle, a ‘Ratel’, was blasted by Cuban artillery on 23 November 1975 near Ebo. (A similar Ratel is pictured in the foreground of this photo taken during Operation Askari in Namibia. (In the background are captured Soviet Ural trucks and on the left foreground a Russian 76MM Z183 artillery piece, similar to the one used by the Cubans in Angolan which killed Niel Lombard).
From 2009, members of the 61st Mechanised Battallion group organise trips to Angola to trace and document the route taken by the SADF’s 61st mechanised battallion in November 1975 during Operation Savanna. On 3 June 2012, they will hold the SADF veterans’ annual memorial commemoration service at the SADF Memorial Wall for Fallen Comrades. http://www.61mech.org.za/articles/5-angola-expedition
Roll of Honour, SADF 61st Mechanised Battallion and Battle Group Juliet: