‘He died a hero!’

SOLDIERS SALUTE: Kamai send off

Young soldier shot by rebels while rescuing Tanzanian colleague

Bled out on the battlefield after taking bullet to the thigh

Displaying the bravery he had shown throughout his nine years in the army, on 29th November, Lance Corporal, Zikamee Operi Kamai risked his life to save a wounded comrade.

In the rescue attempt, under heavy fire from Mozambican rebels, the 31-year-old was struck down by a bullet to the thigh.

With the evacuation aircraft unable to land due to the fierce shoot-out taking place on the ground, Kamai bled out on the battlefield.

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Laid to rest at his home village of Kareng, deep in the North West, last Saturday, the fallen soldier rightly received a hero’s send-off as family, friends and workmates gathered to say their final goodbyes.

‘He died a hero!’
SADDENED: Mourners at the funeral

Speaking at the funeral, Special Forces Commander, Major Ditiro Bokwe described his late colleague as a humble hero who served his country with fearless honour and intense pride.

Detailing Kamai’s final moments, Major Bokwe explained they were both part of the Southern African Development Community’s Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) in Cabo Delgado province.

On Tuesday 29th November, a rebel group in Mozambique attacked Moeda village; Kamai and Bokwe were part of the Special Force team deployed to protect the community under siege.

“It was quite a terrible fight between the rebels and special forces, which took three hours,” explained Bokwe.

During the crossfire, a Tanzanian soldier was hit. With his fellow soldier in desperate need of help, Kamai did not hesitate.

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“Some of the soldiers, including Kamai, drove in a bullet proof vehicle to prepare a safe landing spot for the evacuation aircraft. When they had prepared the spot, Kamai was shot by some rebels who were hiding in ambush. Although he was hit on the thigh, help could not come in time as the aircraft which was to rescue them was delayed by attacks from the rebels and he unfortunately lost too much blood.”

Fondly referred to as ‘The Great Yende’ within the army, Kamai joined the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in 2013.

He quickly proved himself to be an elite soldier and, within six years, became a commando and part of the BDF’s Special Forces.

“He was among 200 soldiers but only 30 soldiers completed and graduated from the training. This is because the kind of training is not for everyone!” said Bokwe.

As well as his exploits with the army, Kamai was known as a friendly, kind man and a doting dad to his little girl. As well as his daughter, he is survived by two patents, three brothers and his parents, Topias Patasanee Kamai and Cornelia Ndjoura.

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