South African military to withdraw troops in CAR

| Zoom

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - South Africa's military said Thursday it will withdraw its troops from Central African Republic, where 13 South African soldiers died in a battle with rebels in March.

Brig. Gen. Xolani Mabanga, a military spokesman, said the troops will pull out in line with a decision by South Africa's political leadership. He declined to say how many South African soldiers remained in Central African Republic and did not give a departure date.

South Africa's military union said earlier this week that most of the 200 South African troops who were there have already been withdrawn.

Meanwhile, a South African parliamentary committee on Thursday debated the military mission in Central African Republic amid questions about its role and the constitutional legality of the deployment.

Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula acknowledged in remarks to the committee that South African troops were not prepared to deal with an attack, the South African Press Association reported.

"We were not equipped in a way that would be able to repel that kind of battle," she said.

Last month, about 200 South African soldiers fought a much larger group of rebels as they swept into the capital of Bangui and overthrew the president, Francois Bozize.

South African officials have said soldiers were sent to help train the army of Central African Republic as part of a bilateral defense agreement signed in 2007, and that additional troops were sent when the security situation deteriorated at the end of last year.

The government has denied allegations that troops were sent to protect the business interests of a company allied to South Africa's governing party, the African National Congress.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Does This Make Sense?
    Jason Rantz questions Inslee's plan to fund transportation with carbon pollution tax

  • Big Release
    Michael Medved takes a look at whether the latest Hobbit film is worth your interest

  • Holiday Map
    Find holiday events, Santa photo opportunities, and light displays
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.