OPERATIONS – séléka REBELLION
22 March 2013 (from around 16:00) to 24 March 2013 (until around 21:00)…
Two hundred South African soldiers fought a series of running battles outside Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR) against 3 000 or more well-armed opponents. And they did so while the CAR Army (Faca) evaporated and the peacekeeping forces of the Central African Standby Brigade disappeared from the scene.
That series of running battles claimed 13 soldiers and 27 others were wounded, but the force retained its cohesion and was able to fall back from two separate engagement areas to its base and to hold it until their attackers gave up trying to overrun them and proposed a ceasefire and disengagement. By then the rebels had suffered as many as 500 casualties, In the process the soldiers fired off more than 12 000 rounds of 12.7mm machinegun ammunition, 288 rockets from 107mm rocket launchers and 800 bombs from 81mm mortars, and thousands of rounds from 7.62mm machineguns and 5.56mm rifles.
This was one of the hardest-fought actions that the SA Army has experienced, and the soldiers fought well, even outstandingly. That is not only reflected in the fact that this small unit retained cohesion to the end of the action, but also in the casualties that it inflicted on its opponents: Such casualties that it was the Séléka rebels who proposed a ceasefire and disengagement. Their valour was underlined by the French force at Bangui airport when it held a formal parade to bid farewell to those who died.
In all of this the Special Forces had distinguished themselves to the highest order. They were the strength of the resistance. It is the stuff of legends – TOP OF CLASS