- South African intervention in Lesotho
The South African National Defence Force Invasion of Lesotho, codenamed Operation Boleas, was a military invasion launched by
Southern African Development Community(SADC), and led by South Africainto Lesothoto quell a suspected coup d'état.
In March 1998 parliamentary elections in Lesotho resulted in an overwhelming majority for the ruling
Lesotho Congress for DemocracyParty, which won 79 out of 80 seats. However allegations of vote fraud soon surfaced, and after a failed lawsuit by the opposition parties, widespread rioting broke out.
Nelson Mandelathe ANC-led government in South Africa (which completely landlocks Lesotho) announced it would hold a formal inquiry to determine the allegations of corruption. Controversially, the report only alleged minor irregularities.
Mandela authorised the deployment of 700 South African troops to Lesotho on
September 22, 1998 to quell the rioting and maintain order. Botswana Defence Forcesoldiers were also deployed. The operation was described as an "intervention to restore democracy and the rule of law."
Widespread arson, violence, and looting occurred despite the presence of
SANDFsoldiers. Troops were pulled out in May 1999 after seven months of occupation. The capital city of Maseruwas heavily damaged, requiring a period of several years for rebuilding.
Politics of Lesotho
* [http://www.trinstitute.org/ojpcr/p2_2neethling.htm Military Intervention in Lesotho: Perspectives on Operation Boleas and Beyond] , "OJPCR: The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution" May 1999.
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