UN peacekeepers accused of sexually abusing four girls in C. Africa

AFP , Tuesday 5 Jan 2016

UN peacekeepers are facing new allegations of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic involving four young girls, the UN spokesman said Tuesday.

The UN mission in Bangui received the claims on Monday and has asked three countries whose troops were allegedly involved in the misconduct to investigate.

Under UN rules, it is up to the troop-contributing country to investigate and prosecute soldiers accused of misconduct while serving under the UN flag.

The 10,000-strong MINUSCA force has been hit by a wave of allegations of sex abuse by the peacekeepers, prompting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to fire the mission chief last year.

The allegations, however, have continued to surface.

The UN mission "is investigating new allegations concerning both sexual exploitation and abuse and other misconduct by UN peacekeepers in Bangui," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Mission chief Parfait Onanga-Anyanga told troops and police in Bangui that there would be "zero-tolerance" for such actions and "no complacency for perpetrators," he added.

There were few details released about the latest case as UN officials were working to establish the facts.

The four girls, all minors, received medical care, along with shoes, clothes and hygiene kits.

The United Nations has been badly shaken by allegations last year that French and African troops forced children to perform sexual acts in exchange for food, from December 2013 to June 2014.

An independent panel last month found that a report by the mission detailing the allegations sat on desks for months until a newspaper article in April sparked outrage over the case.

The Central African Republic is struggling to recover from sectarian violence that exploded after a 2013 coup, pitting mainly Muslim rebels against Christian militias.

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