UN: New sex abuse claims in Central African Republic

AP News
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Posted: Feb 15, 2016 3:44 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations said Monday it is investigating new allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic, including against minors.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said details will be announced after an initial probe is completed.

The United Nations has been unable to explain why so many rapes and other sexual abuse by peacekeepers have been alleged in Central African Republic, which has been gripped by deadly violence between Christians and Muslims since late 2013. Thousands of peacekeepers from the United Nations, African Union and Europe have been deployed since then to help restore peace.

Late last month, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Banbury said there likely were 22 confirmed allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic in 2015, but the figure could be higher with recent allegations.

As part of a new U.N. policy, Banbury also for the first time publicly named countries whose troops and police in U.N. missions had been accused of sexual abuse and exploitation. He named Congo, Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Niger and Senegal.

The U.N. also has started repatriations over sexual abuse and exploitation allegations.

On Monday, Haq said the repatriation of a Congolese battalion in Bambari, where a number of cases have been reported, will start on Feb. 25. Some 208 replacement troops from Mauritania have already arrived, he said.

Investigators from the Republic of Congo have arrived in CAR to look into recent allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against their troops, Haq said. The U.N. expects a company of 120 soldiers, who are currently confined to barracks in Berberati as a result of the allegations, to be sent home before the end of the month when the investigation is completed, he said.