Two more South Africans die in Iraq

Time of article published Oct 13, 2004

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Two more South Africans were killed in Iraq on Tuesday, the department of foreign affairs confirmed on Wednesday in Pretoria.

Foreign affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the government was still trying to gather details concerning the attack. He said, however, that the two men had been employed by Omega Risk Solutions, Iraq.

This brings to 11 the number of South Africans killed in Iraq this year.

An official in the South African embassy in Oman, Jordan, said they were aware of the deaths but that the bodies had already been taken to the embassy in Kuwait before being flown back to South Africa.

Omega Risk Solutions' West African and Middle East manager, Cobus de Kock, said Johan Botha, 37, and Louis Campher, 43 were killed in an attack at 6.30am South African time on Tuesday while travelling from one construction sight to another, 11km south of Baghdad.

"Botha and Campher were the only two men killed when their convoy came under fire," he said.

He said the men were security managers for the company.

De Kock explained that Omega protected construction workers rebuilding in war-torn Iraq.

Refusing to say exactly how many South Africans were working for Omega in Iraq, De Kock said it was a "significant number".

He said construction workers were regularly attacked by militants and it was their job to protect them. Their specialised vehicles were all unmarked as it was advisable to keep as low a profile in Iraq as possible.

Botha, a former soldier of 121 Battalion in Piet Retief joined Omega on September 15 this year after working for in the security industry in Angola. Campher, a former police officer, joined the company on August 1.

De Kock said arrangements had been made for their bodies to be flown back to South Africa.

Foreign affairs estimated that more than 4 000 South Africans were currently employed in Iraq. - Sapa

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