Back in 1993 Isuzu promised to help rid Mozambique of illegal arms caches hidden across the country, remnants of the civil war that ravaged the country for many years.
Together with the Mozambican police, the South African Police Service embarked on a mission to seek out and destroy weapons and ammunition that were finding their way into South Africa. By securing the vast number of uncontrolled weapons in Mozambique the supply of illicit weapons into the South African criminal network would be stemmed.
Operation Rachel proved to be a massive success over the years. Some 2 400 hand guns were destroyed, 5 516 sub-machine guns were removed from circulation, more than 3 200 land mines destroyed, 13 800 grenades and most importantly 32 387 rifles – mostly AK47s – were destroyed. More than 24 million rounds of ammunition were also destroyed during the various Operation Rachel sorties. Key to the success of this activity was the provision of vehicles for logistical support by Isuzu.
The success of Operation Rachel made it apparent that this type of operation needed to be conducted in other war-ravaged countries on the borders of South Africa. Northern Namibia and Angola in particular were seen as areas where a significant number of illicit weapons caches existed and needed to be eliminated.
Once again Isuzu stepped into the frame to provide the Isuzu KB pick-ups for logistical support. Named Operation Mandume, the systematic clearing of weapons caches in Namibia and Angola began with the first operation in the area towards the end of 2007.
In this first mission, conducted by a specially trained SARPCO team drawn from the countries involved and guided by a team from the SAPS, more than 34 000 pieces of weaponry were destroyed. The size of this haul of illicit weapons on just the first operation indicates the size of the problem.
The ultimate goal is to rid Sub-Saharan Africa of illicit weapons. Operation Mandume is the next step in this process and will continue into the future with successive operations.