BANGUI – It&39;s been a year since 13 South African soldiers were killed in a bloody battle in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Two other who were injured, died after returning to South Africa.
At that time, Seleka rebels had overthrown President Francois Bozize, and clashed with South African troops in the capital Bangui.
Chaos has reigned there ever since.
The events that played out a year ago not only shocked the CAR, but South Africa and the world too.
African forces were stationed in the CAR -- their role was to prevent Seleka rebels from entering Bangui.
Chad troops, sympathetic to the rebels, did not engage them as they advanced, and so the Seleka marched on the capital.
It was there that SANDF troops were forced into action.
While dozens of rebels were killed, 13 South Africans lost their lives.
The South African government responded by withdrawing its forces.
What followed in the CAR was horrifying. As South Africa mourned its lost soldiers, the Seleka toppled President Francois Bozize.
The mainly Muslim rebels governed the country for a time, with looting, killings, and rape becoming commonplace.
Christian communities formed anti-Balaka militia groups to defend themselves. That led to what many are calling a systematic campaign to drive Muslims out of the country.
This took place while a regional peacekeeping force and French troops remained in the CAR.
The crisis forced coup leader, Michel Djotodia, to step down as president.
Catherine Samba Panza was then appointed interim leader. She urged both sides to disarm – with little effect.
At the same time, French troops had some success in Bangui, but it was another matter in the rest of the country.
Most recently, United Nations’ rights chief, Navi Pillay, visited the country.
The South African spoke of the horror and hate that permeated throughout the nation.
She told of atrocities, including the decapitation of children, and even cases of cannibalism.
The UN is now working on forming a peacekeeping mission to help end the violence.
But this takes time.
And time is one thing the Central African Republic does not have.
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