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South African military says it will withdraw troops stationed in Central African Republic


A mourner breaks down during a memorial service for 13 South African soldiers killed in Central African Republic last week, at an air force base in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. The service took place amid strident debate about why the troops were deployed and accusations that they were sent to protect business interests of a company allied to the ruling African National Congress , charges which president Jacob Zuma denied. (AP Photo) (The Associated Press)

South Africa's military says it will withdraw its troops from Central African Republic, where 13 South African soldiers died in a battle with rebels in March.

Brig. Gen. Xolani Mabanga, a military spokesman, said Thursday that the troops will pull out in line with a decision by South Africa's political leadership. He declined to say how many South African soldiers remain in Central African Republic and did not give a departure date.

Meanwhile, a South African parliamentary committee was debating the military mission in Central African Republic amid questions about its role and the constitutional legality of the deployment.

Last month, about 200 South African soldiers fought a much larger group of rebels as they swept into the capital of Bangui and overthrew the president, Francois Bozize.