By Katarina Höije
U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic are facing new allegations of sexual abuse. The accusations include the rape of four young girls in the capital, Bangui. Such allegations have been a recurring problem for the U.N. mission in the Central African Republic.
In the latest case, troops are accused of raping, sexually exploiting and engaging in transactional sex with four young girls, some of them living in a camp for displaced people in the capital, Bangui, according to media reports. The victims, all minors, have received medical treatment and are in the care of UNICEF and NGOs.
The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, said at a news conference Wednesday there would be “zero tolerance” and “no complacency for perpetrators.”
“The allegations concern U.N. forces, but also other international troops,” he said. He added an investigation is underway in cooperation with U.N. partners in the C.A.R. to determine who is implicated and to end what he called “horrendous acts.”
He said the three countries whose soldiers were implicated in the new case have been informed, though he declined to identify the countries. Under U.N. rules, it is up to the troop-contributing country to investigate and prosecute soldiers accused of misconduct while serving in a U.N. mission.
He says the force commander and the police office are working together to develop mechanisms to better control international troops.
The latest allegations bring the number of sexual abuse cases involving U.N. peacekeepers and international troops in the Central African Republic to 26.
Last year, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon fired the head of the 12,000 member MINUSCA force over the mounting number of cases.
An independent panel last month described the U.N.’s delayed reaction as a “gross institutional failure to respond to the allegations in a meaningful way.”
Katarina Höije contributed this piece for VOA News, see the original piece here.