Nelson Mandela memorial: Snipers, troops stand guard

Published 4:06 AM EST, Mon December 9, 2013

Story highlights

Elite troops, snipers, canines helping secure stadium

Government minister says security is in place for Tuesday's memorial

A state funeral will take place Sunday

Mandela aide describes sadness and celebration among friends and relatives in his home

Editor’s Note: Watch the Nelson Mandela memorial from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. ET Tuesday on CNN International. Dozens of heads of state, including Presidents Zuma, Obama and Castro, will be there with thousands of South Africans at the 90,000 seat FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

(CNN) —  

It’s a moment for the ages.

Tens of thousands of South Africans, dozens of presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and street sweepers are all heading to the same place: a stadium in Johannesburg, where they’ll honor Nelson Mandela at a memorial service on Tuesday.

With 91 heads of state attending, security will be tight.

Authorities are already stepping up surveillance as presidents of six nations prepare to pay tribute to the late anti-apartheid leader in a four-hour service that will likely bring much of South Africa to a stop.

Working off plans developed for years in secret, the South African government is using an elite military task force, sniper teams and canine teams to help secure the stadium, CNN’s Arwa Damon reported Monday. In addition, helicopters and military jets frequently fly overhead.