U.N.'s Central Africa force hit with new misconduct allegations

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 11, 2015 5:23 PM

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations on Friday said it has received a fresh allegation of sexual misconduct by a peacekeeper stationed in the Central African Republic.

The U.N. force there, MINUSCA, has been dogged by accusations of misconduct. Its head, Babacar Gaye, was dismissed from his post last month amid a series of allegations of sexual abuse and excessive use of force by peacekeepers.

The United Nations received a new charge on Wednesday.

"According to the information collected so far, a MINUSCA soldier was engaged in a sexual relationship with a young woman who is now pregnant," a U.N. peacekeeping spokeswoman said, adding that it is a violation of MINUSCA’s non-fraternization policy.

"MINUSCA is looking into this new allegation and collecting information to confirm the age of the alleged victim as above 18," she added. "The member state is being notified."

She did not identify the member state.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been investigating allegations that three of its soldiers in MINUSCA committed rape.

Earlier on Friday, U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the United Nations was taking the allegations of abuse and misconduct seriously. He said those involved in misconduct could be shipped home, prosecuted and their home countries denied payment for the individual peacekeepers.

The mission of more than 10,000 uniformed personnel was first authorized in Central African Republic in April 2014 to curb fighting between the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels who had seized power in 2013 and the anti-balaka Christian militias.

Foreign troops deployed to quell the violence in the diamond-producing country have repeatedly been the focus of abuse allegations this year.

Last week the U.N. human rights chief said a French soldier deployed to Central African Republic has been accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl.

At least 13 French soldiers, two soldiers from Equatorial Guinea and three Chadian troops were implicated in the alleged sexual abuse of children between December 2013 and June 2014, according to a U.N. report leaked in April.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau)