Lesotho neither hosted nor produced significant numbers of refugees at the end of 1998, but violence temporarily uprooted several thousand people in September.

On September 22, a military intervention by South African and Botswanan forces triggered a violent upheaval in Lesotho and set off a wave of looting and destruction. Several thousand people fled the capital. At least 1,000 sought temporary safety in neighboring South Africa. At year's end, most of the displaced population were believed to have returned home.

The military intervention by the South African Development Community (SADC)‹a regional body that promotes economic growth and cooperation among southern Africa's member governments‹was intended to restore stability after months of protests by opposition supporters who claimed that general elections held in May were fraudulent.


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