SA man killed in Baghdad explosion


Baghdad - One South African was killed and another injured in a roadside blast in Baghdad on Tuesday, the department of foreign affairs said in Pretoria.

Foreign affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the two had been driving in a convoy when the explosion took place.

"The rumours that a South African was beheaded are not true, but that a South African has died is true," Mamoepa said.

The injured South African has been flown to Germany for medical treatment.

The South African who died is believed to have been a former Pretoria Task Force policeman.

"Foreign Affairs is in contact with the families," said Mamoepa.

Both men worked for DynCorp, a private US security company contracted by the US government to police post-Saddam Iraq.

DynCorp is one of the American companies involved in training the Iraqi police service and is also responsible for helping the authorities assess threats to public order.

It also provides logistical and technical support necessary for enforcing peace in that country.

So far, nine South Africans have been killed in the strife-torn country this year.

The first South African killed in Iraq was former policeman Francois Strydom, who was blown up on January 28 while working as a bodyguard for SAS International in Baghdad.

Strydom's death was followed by that of Gray Branfield, who was killed on April 6 in al-Kut during a skirmish between Ukrainian peacekeeping forces and Shi'a rebels.

Hendrik "Vis" Visagie died a week later in a US military hospital after being ambushed in Fallujah while escorting Iraqi dignitaries in a convoy.

Francois de Beer died on April 22 after he was shot dead in a Baghdad shop while asking for directions.

De Beer worked for Pretoria-based company Meteoric Tactical Solutions.

Two other South Africans were killed on April 29.

A former policeman from George, in the Southern Cape, was also recently found dead in Iraq. - Sapa


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