Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

Central Africa: South Africa in the CAR - Was Pulling the Troops a Catastrophic Mistake?

analysis

After 14 South African soldiers died on the streets of Bangui, South Africa's military commitment to the Central African Republic halted abruptly. This was a popular decision at home. But was it the right one? Is there anything we could have done to prevent the CAR's swift descent into chaos and humanitarian crisis? SIMON ALLISON looks for answers.

In March last year, South African troops were caught up in a firefight as rebels advanced on the Central African Republic capital Bangui. Fourteen of them died in the scuffle. South Africans were outraged: what were our soldiers doing there? Why weren't they better prepared?

Under huge public pressure, the South African National Defence Force withdrew its soldiers from the country. South Africa drew a line under an embarrassing incident, and attention promptly moved on to the next big scandal.

But in CAR, the situation rapidly deteriorated. The rebels have proved to be even worse governors than the administration they deposed, the rebel leader largely powerless to control his own militants, never mind the country. Fighting between militants and rag-tag self-defence groups have left a trail of dead and injured in their wake; and, as always, civilians have suffered the most from...

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.