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Iran Press TV

UN probes sex abuse cases against CAR peacekeepers

Iran Press TV

Wed Jan 6, 2016 1:23PM

The UN has launched an investigation into fresh allegations of child sex abuse by its peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.

The UN said on Tuesday that it had asked three countries of the claims to investigate their soldiers who serve in the MINUSCA, the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.

The mission 'is investigating new allegations concerning both sexual exploitation and abuse and other misconduct by UN peacekeepers [in the African country's capital] Bangui,' UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

He did not name the three countries, but sources say the peacekeepers were from Morocco, Egypt and Gabon. The soldiers are accused of rape, sexual exploitation and transactional sex with girls.

The victims were four girls, who are minor, and lived in a camp for displaced civilians in Bangui.

Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the MINUSCA mission chief, said that there would be 'zero tolerance' for such assaults and 'no complacency for perpetrators.'

The UN Children's FUND (UNICEF) staff in Bangui have met with the victims and worked with a local organization to provide them with psychological support.

The latest assault brought to 26 the number of sexual abuse cases of UN peacekeepers recorded in the Central African Republic.

Last year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon fired the head of MINUSCA mission because of the increasing number of sexual abuse cases. He warned that the UN would throw out the entire peacekeeping unit if the soldiers accused of assaults were not prosecuted.

The UN has faced severe criticism over allegations that French and African soldiers forced children to perform sexual acts in order to receive food between December 2013 and June 2014.

France has thousands of troops in the Central African Republic and 14 of its soldiers are under investigation over the allegations.

The Central African Republic plunged into crisis in December 2013, when anti-balaka militia began coordinated attacks against the Seleka group, which toppled the government in March that year.

As the guiding force, France effectively invaded its former colony after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution giving the African Union and France the go-ahead to send troops to the country.

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