US, South African forces join up for military exercise

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African forces are hosting the U.S. military in an exercise modeled on a United Nations peacekeeping mandate — currently applied in eastern Congo — that allows for offensive military action against rebel groups.

The South African military said Thursday that joint field training begins Monday at the Lohatla military area in Northern Cape province. The exercise ends Aug. 4.

South African authorities say U.S. C-17 aircraft will participate and U.S. military vehicles will travel from Cape Town to the training.

South Africa says maneuvers will follow a robust U.N. mandate in which "belligerent forces are forced to disengage and to discontinue the armed conflict."

The U.N.'s Congo mission aims to protect civilians from conflict, notably from armed groups that roam the vast eastern region and fight over mineral wealth.

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