Thursday, 9 May 2013
NEWSFLASH - FART claims decisive victory in battle for Watumbi (Reuters)
From our correspondent in Watumbi
In a decisive retaliatory cross border strike, units of the Nbuto Force Action Rapide Territoriale, supported by helicopter gunships and air-mobile infantry of the Patrole Action Rapide Parachutiste, have smashed through the Nbuto-Mbote de-militarized zone along the Bagombo River.
Initial reports indicate that a spearhead of armoured vehicles and jeep commando units penetrated deep into the border zone adjecent to the Watumbi Bridge. A combination of overwhelming firepower and co-ordinated support by helicopter gunships, threw the local Mbote Defence Force border guards into panic, driving them into the thick jungle undergrowth on the banks of the river.
This tactical success enabled a fast moving FART jeep commando unit to advance across the river and sieze their key objective, before a counter attack by Mbote Defence Force armour, anti tank artillery and militia units caused a localised tactical withdrawal. With daylight fading, elite paratroops of the PARP held the bridgehead enabling the FART mainforce to successfully disengage.
Having achieved their objective, FART troops are now digging in and fortifying the border zone adjacent to the Watumbi Bridge. This pre-emptive strike by the FART is clearly a defensive strategy aimed at consoldation of the disputed border with Mbote. Thus far, there has been no information from the Mbote Government about the skirmish but a press release is expected soon.
However, it is highly unlikely that further raids such as this one will be made in the near future, as sources close to the Nbuto Government have indicated that severe losses in troops and equipment were suffered by the FART. In the meantime, the border town of Watumbi has seen jubilant crowds welcoming units of the FART as they return from the frontline.