Wednesday, September 23, 1998 Published at 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Chaos in Lesotho
Lesotho's capital burns
South Africa has announced its troops will remain in Lesotho until peace is restored.
Buildings in the capital Maseru have been burning out of control as gangs loot abandoned shops while the police watch.
More than 25 people, including nine South African soldiers, have died in the fighting.
The BBC's correspondent in Lesotho, Jeremy Vine, says many Lesothans without political axes to grind are blaming South Africa for the chaos in Maseru.
He says shops and government offices have been comprehensively stripped and set alight and that some businessmen are protecting their property by taking up arms.
"As an exercise in restoring order, their intervention, has been hugely counter-productive. It will take months, perhaps years, to rebuild Maseru," he reports.
He said: "We regard this as a very serious attempt to try and normalise the situation at the request of the legitimate government of Lesotho."
Botswana troops also involved
South African soldiers were joined by troops from Botswana. The Botswana Government said they had been sent to restore law and order under an agreement signed by the Lesotho king in 1994 that Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe would guarantee democracy there.
Reports say there are several civilian casualties and hospitals are treating dozens of people with bullet injuries.
Our correspondent says South African forces had not expected such fierce resistance because they did not account for opposition factions within the Lesotho Defence Force.
At the border post with South Africa, a steady stream of foreigners have been fleeing Lesotho.
Most diplomatic staff have been evacuated and South African citizens have been warned that they could become the target of revenge attacks.
Lesotho has experienced seven weeks of anti-government protests, some of them violent, after the disputed election. The opposition complained that May's general election, which gave the ruling Congress for Democracy 79 out of 80 seats, was rigged.
Earlier in September, 15 senior officers fled Lesotho for South Africa. They had been arrested by junior ranks and forced to resign in a disagreement over military intervention to end six weeks of unrest in the capital.