Zuma at memorial for South African soldiers

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has attended a memorial service for the 13 soldiers killed in the recent rebellion in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The memorial took place in an aircraft hangar at the Swartkop air base in the South African capital, Pretoria.

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Mr Zuma said the soldiers died "defending our commitment" to peace and stability in Africa.

They were killed in the capital, Bangui, as rebels seized power more than a week ago.

The governing ANC party has rejected accusations that the troops were in CAR because it has mining interests there.

The South African government says they were training government forces and providing security.

 The South African National Defence Union (SANDF), representing the soldiers, and the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party is calling for the withdrawal of troops.

South Africa's Times newspaper reports from Bangui that rebels have been seen driving around in captured South African military vehicles.

The vehicles included a Toyota Landcruiser marked with the insignia of Operation Vimbezela, the South African military mission in CAR. A machine gun was mounted on the roof of the vehicle, it reports.

The soldiers' commander has been speaking at the memorial, commending their bravery and confirming that they died in a night ambush, South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper reports. — BBC