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Thursday, September 24, 1998 Published at 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK

World: Africa

Mandela defends Lesotho intervention

South African reinforcements are scheduled to stay until the situation resolved

President Nelson Mandela is continuing to defend South Africa's controversial military intervention in Lesotho.

BBC correspondent Jeremy Vine: "Anarchy hasn't stopped yet"
Speaking in the United States, he said it had been necessary to restore stability to the kingdom, which has been gripped by unrest since general elections in May - elections which the opposition say were rigged.

[ image: South African medics evacuate a soldier]
South African medics evacuate a soldier
Mr Mandela acknowledged that 58 rebels had been killed by South African soldiers since the military intervened on Tuesday. At least eight South African soldiers have also died.

Mr Mandela's position has been strengthened by support from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

South African troops received orders to shoot to kill if necessary, but that has only united people in Lesotho against them.

The BBC's Jeremy Vine: "The situation is calmer"
Our Africa Correspondent, Jeremy Vine, says the fighting and looting has caused massive damage which will take years to repair.

On Thursday, a measure of calm returned to the burned-out capital despite sporadic shooting and looting.

More than 100 British citizens were also flown out of the country to escape the dangers.

Recent troubles

[ image: Looters at work in Maseru]
Looters at work in Maseru
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 illegal.

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.

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