JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) – South Africa has decided to pull its troops out of the Central African Republic because the deal under which they were deployed has become void with the fall the government there, President Jacob Zuma said Thursday.
“We have taken a decision to withdraw our soldiers,” Zuma was quoted as saying by the public broadcaster SABC, at the end of a summit of African regional leaders.
Zuma who had faced questions over the presence of his troops following the gunning down by rebels of 13 South African paratroopers during the bloody battle for the capital, Bangui.
“We were in CAR on the basis of the agreement between the two countries,” he said at the end of the summit, which ended late on Wednesday.
“Our mission was to help train the soldiers… since the coup and the self-appointment of rebels, it was clear that the government is no longer there,” Zuma told SABC at the end of a meeting of the Economic Community of Central African States in the Chadian capital Ndjamena.
The decision to withdraw was first announced by summit host Chadian leader Idriss Deby late Wednesday, who added Zuma was however ready to provide troops in the future if necessary.