, BANGUI, Mar 25 – The scandal-tainted UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic said Friday that fresh allegations of sex abuse by its soldiers had surfaced in the centre of the country.
The accusations are the latest to hit the MINUSCA force in the deeply poor and restive country, where both UN and French peacekeepers have been accused of widespread abuse and offering food to children in return for sex.
MINUSCA said it had received “new information on the allegations of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse committed by its members and civilian UN workers” in 2014 and 2015 in the central region of Kemo.
“At present, our main concern is to ensure that the victims are assisted and that a probe is launched so that the perpetrators are punished,” it said.
The conjunction of soldiers, war and poverty in Central African Republic has led to a horrendous number of sexual assaults.
Barely a month goes by without the United Nations revealing a fresh sex scandal allegation involving its “blue helmet” peacekeepers and civilians.
Since the start of the UN peacekeeping mandate in September 2014, more than 40 suspected cases of sexual attacks and abuse have been reported, and French investigators too are looking into rape charges against forces stationed in the former colony.
The UN this month said there had been 69 claims of sex abuse by its peacekeepers worldwide, of which 22 were from the Central African Republic.
The UN Security Council two weeks ago adopted a resolution that calls for the repatriation of entire peacekeeping units whose soldiers face allegations of sexual abuse while serving under the UN flag.
The measure allows UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to bar a country from peacekeeping if it fails to take action against soldiers who face credible allegations.