CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: UN peacekeepers face new allegations of sexually abusing children

UN peacekeepers are facing new allegations of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic involving four young girls, according to the UN spokesman.

The UN mission in Bangui received the claims on Monday and has asked three countries whose troops were allegedly involved in the misconduct to investigate.

Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN secretary general, did not say what countries the accused peacekeepers were from.

Under UN rules, it is up to the country contributing troops to investigate and prosecute soldiers accused of misconduct while serving under the UN flag.

The 10,000-strong Minusca force has been hit by a wave of allegations of sex abuse by the peacekeepers, prompting the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to fire the mission chief last year.

The allegations, however, have continued to surface. The UN mission “is investigating new allegations concerning both sexual exploitation and abuse and other misconduct by UN peacekeepers in Bangui,” Dujarric said.

The mission chief, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, told troops and police in Bangui that there would be “zero-tolerance” for such actions and “no complacency for perpetrators”.

There were few details released about the latest case as UN officials were working to establish the facts. The four girls, all minors, received medical care, along with shoes, clothes and hygiene kits.

The United Nations has been badly shaken by allegations last year that French and African troops forced children to perform sexual acts in exchange for food, from December 2013 to June 2014.

An independent panel last month found that a report by the mission detailing the allegations sat on desks for months until an article in the Guardian in April sparked outrage over the case.

The UN does not name countries whose peacekeepers are accused of sexual misconduct, under pressure from member states, but Ban has said he intends to start doing so this year.

Ban announced last year his intention to repatriate the troops of countries that do not act on allegations of sexual misconduct.

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