, PRETORIA, Mar 25 – Several South African soldiers deployed in the Central African Republic were killed in clashes with rebels who captured the capital Bangui over the weekend, an army spokesman told AFP on Monday.
“Following the engagement that we had… there were some casualties from both sides,” Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said, without providing precise figures.
South African radio station SAFM carried unconfirmed reports that up to nine South African soldiers had been killed and others wounded in clashes at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Bangui.
South Africa deployed 200 soldiers to Central Africa in January to support the poorly trained, ill-equipped government troops following an offensive launched by the Seleka rebel coalition in early December.
The rebels renewed their offensive last week and seized the capital Bangui, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee the country.