CAR death toll claims dismissed

2013-04-04 21:06
(Alex Eliseev, via Twitter)

(Alex Eliseev, via Twitter)

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Johannesburg - The military has rubbished claims that more than 13 South African soldiers were killed in the Central African Republic (CAR).

"The SA National Defence Force dismisses with contempt reports that allege that more than 13 members were lost in CAR," spokesperson Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said on Thursday.

He did not elaborate in his one-paragraph statement.

French news agency AFP earlier reported CAR rebels as saying the number of South African soldiers killed in the battle was between 36 and 50.

South Africa has put the death toll at 13.

In addition to those killed, 27 South African troops were wounded on 23 March when they were attacked by Seleka rebel fighters near the CAR's capital Bangui.

Earlier, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said government would investigate international reports querying the number of South African soldiers killed. She said official statements indicated the situation in the CAR was chaotic.

"What I can say is that what was confirmed by United Nations and African Union representatives based in the Central African Republic is that in a coup situation there will be chaos, loss of life, and other unforeseen circumstances.

"We will verify the facts and come back to you if there is such a situation. At the moment, we have not received such reports," she said.

President Jacob Zuma announced on Wednesday South African would withdraw its troops from CAR.

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