18 Jan 1976: 72436728BC 2/Lieutenant Andries Muller from the School of Armour Died of Wounds during a contact with enemy forces during Ops Savannah. A troop of Eland 90s was sent from Cela along the road between Amboiva and Massanga to deal with a reported enemy presence in that area. On their way back, they had a problem crossing a stream. The Troop commander 2Lt Muller and his gunner were first-in-last out on the narrow track, so they were now at the rear of the troop. While standing in their hatches watching the Elands at the stream trying to rig a tow bar, they suddenly came under heavy enemy small-arms fire. Before they could duck inside and close the hatches, 2/Lieutenant Muller was hit five times in his back but the Gunner was unscathed. He sadly succumbed to his wounds before he could be evacuated back to the hospital facility at Cela hospital. He was 19.
18 Jan 1978: 76927508SP Rifleman Antonio Cassamano from 32 Battalion was Killed in Action during a contact with the enemy forces when his patrol was ambushed at a waterhole near Omalapapa in Southern Angola. He was 24.
18 Jan 1979: 76456623BG Corporal Fritz August Ferreira from 3 SAI was killed when he accidentally electrocuted himself while stationed at Ondangwa. He was trying to connect up his tape recorder in the tent while he was bare footed and standing on a bed, holding on to the middle tent pole when the unfortunate occurred. He was 18.
18 Jan 1980: Two members from the 2 SAI Support Company Platoon were Killed in Action or Died of Wounds when their patrol was ambushed by a numerically superior force of SWAPO/PLAN Insurgents just North of the Cut-line. Fresh spoor from three SWAPO/PLAN insurgents was found heading North across the Cut-line and the platoon Commander, Lieutenant Ferreira was granted permission to follow the spoor for a few kilometers into Angola before returning if nothing was found. Half the platoon remained with the heavy kit at the cutline while the other half proceeded into Southern Angola wearing only skeleton webbing. The spoor went North for a short distance before turning West into the setting sun. The three SWAPO/PLAN insurgents had in the meantime re-joined a much larger group of about 100 cadres and had set up a classic L-shaped ambush. With the setting sun in their eyes, the Section walked into the ambush and came under a hail of small arms fire from AK-47 Assault Rifles, RPD machine-guns and RPG-7 anti-tank rockets. Rifleman Froneman was hit in the chest and killed instantly while Rifleman Maritz was critically wounded after being hit in the shoulder and the bullet ricocheted down into one of his lungs.
The Platoon Commander stood his ground and the Section continued to engage the dug-in SWAPO/PLAN positions. As darkness was falling, the order was given to retire. Rifleman Froneman’s body could not be recovered from the battlefield but the wounded Rifleman Maritz was carried away by the Ops Medic. Another patrol located about 4km away from the ambush area radioed the base for support and a Puma Helicopter was sent to search for the patrol. A few hours later, the helicopter crew located the Patrol at a kraal a few kilometers from the ambush site and the wounded Rifleman Maritz was evacuated together with the remainder of the Platoon. He unfortunately succumbed to his wounds a few hours later. The body of Rifleman Froneman was later recovered from the battlefield at first light by another Patrol. Blood stains found in the SWAPO/PLAN positions indicated that they had definitely suffered casualties but had removed all the wounded or dead bodies from the scene.
The casualties in this contact were:
18 Jan 1984: 78912763SP Corporal Jose Antonio from 32 Battalion suffered a fatal heart attack and died while stationed at Buffalo Base. He was 32.
1975 – Pte Sibindi TEMBA, Spt Coy, 2 Bde, died on active service.
1978 – Pte Eland ELLIOT, 2nd Bn, RDR, died on active service.
1979 – DSA Robert MLOTSHWA, Kp Prtn, Intaf, died on active service.