At least 13 South African soldiers were killed in the Central African Republic as rebels seized the capital, Bangui, over the weekend, President Jacob Zuma has said.
Mr. Zuma said South Africa was “proud” of the soldiers who had fought against the “bandits.”
BBC says South Africa had about 200 troops stationed in Bangui to block Seleka rebels from seizing power.
However, the rebels captured Bangui on Sunday.
Ousted President Francois Bozize has fled the capital.
He is believed to be in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo – although this has been denied by the Congolese government.
Mr. Zuma said 27 South African soldiers had been wounded, and one was unaccounted for.
“It’s a sad moment for us… We are proud of our 200 troops who fought against bandits,” he said, at a press conference in the capital, Pretoria.