Nepalese peacekeepers accused of child rape in South Sudan

AFP , Monday 23 Apr 2018

UN peacekeepers from Nepal are facing allegations of child rape in South Sudan, the UN spokesman said Monday, describing the case as "especially heinous".

The United Nations has asked Nepal to send investigators to work with its own office of internal oversight on the case and is awaiting a response by Wednesday.

"Any act of sexual abuse is horrendous," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. "One involving a child is especially heinous."

The allegations were received this month and involve Nepalese troops serving in the UN mission in South Sudan. No details were released on the number of troops involved or the victims.

The United Nations has deployed 14,800 troops and police in South Sudan, with a mandate to protect civilians caught up in a brutal war between President Salva Kiir's forces and rebels.

In February, 46 UN peacekeepers from Ghana were recalled from their base in northwestern South Sudan after the mission received allegations of sexual exploitation of women.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has vowed to toughen the UN response to allegations of misconduct against the blue helmets whose mission is to protect vulnerable civilians in conflict zones.

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