UN Peacekeepers in New Child Abuse Case

UN Peacekeepers in New Child Abuse CaseUN Peacekeepers in New Child Abuse Case

A UN peacekeeping contingent serving in the Central African Republic is suspected of sexually abusing street children in Bangui, a UN spokesman said Tuesday.

It was the third case of alleged child sexual abuse involving foreign troops in that country to have surfaced in recent months.

The UN mission in Bangui has notified the troop-contributing country of the new allegations and has opened an investigation, said spokesperson of the Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric.

The country of origin was not identified, but a UN official told AFP it was an African contingent, reports

“If the allegations are substantiated, this would constitute a grave violation of UN principles and the code of conduct of peacekeepers,” said Dujarric. “The member-state will be requested to take swift and appropriate punitive action.”

A UN report by rights investigators last year detailed testimony from children in the Central African Republic who said they were sexually abused by French troops and soldiers from Chad and Equatorial Guinea.

The sexual abuse allegedly took place from December 2013 to June 2014. France announced last month that 14 soldiers were facing possible charges in the case that only came to light when The Guardian newspaper reported it in April.

The United Nations has 125,000 peacekeepers deployed in 16 missions worldwide.