Thursday, March 31, 2016 8:17 am
The United Nations said it has widened an investigation of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by foreign peacekeepers in Central African Republic and notified authorities in France, Gabon and Burundi about the charges.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday the world body had received new sexual abuse allegations against U.N. peacekeepers from Morocco and Burundi in Central African Republic (CAR), including one that involved a 14-year-old girl.
The U.N. press office released new information about the probe late on Wednesday, saying that a U.N. team led by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in CAR, known as MINUSCA, had traveled to the Kemo prefecture to investigate.
“The exact number and nature of these extremely troubling allegations are still being determined,” the U.N. statement said. “The team has identified the contingents in question as those provided by Burundi and Gabon.”
“Allegations made against the French Sangaris forces in the same area are also being investigated,” the statement added. “Alleged victims are being interviewed and will be provided with assistance and psycho-social and medical support.”
The U.N. statement said a senior U.N. official met with Burundi’s Ambassador Albert Shingiro and will meet soon with representatives of Gabon.
“Allegations are allegations,” Shingiro told Reuters. “We have to wait for investigation by a national team from next week. Our national policy on sexual abuse is zero tolerance.”
The U.N. statement added that the Burundian and Gabonese units accused of involvement in the abuse would remain confined to their camps for the time being. The statement said authorities in France and Gabon have been notified.