6 soldiers killed in fire at South African military base

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Six army soldiers were killed and three others injured after a fire swept over a military training base in the Northern Cape province of South Africa Friday.

A statement issued Saturday by the South African Army said the fire broke out at about 1:45 p.m., local time, Friday, at the South African Army Combat Training Center (CTC) in Northern Cape, the largest province of the country.

“It is reported that the fire rolled over from the western border of the mine that is next to the training area in CTC,” said the statement.

Images and videos of burnt-out military vehicles, as well as tents and other equipment, and the scorched earth left behind by the fire, went viral on social media.

According to the statement, elements of the South African Army are currently deployed in the vicinity in preparation for its annual exercise, Exercise Vukuhlome (Zulu language, meaning standing up armed), and were deployed in the vicinity where the fire occurred.

“It was reported that six soldiers of the South African Army lost their lives during this incident, and three were injured with second-degree burns and have been evacuated to the nearest hospital,” the statement said. “The South African Army is currently assessing the situation on the ground and further information regarding this incident will be communicated in due course as the investigation is still underway.”

Top leaders of the country’s defense department and armed forces in the statement extended their deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the six Army members “who tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.”

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