U.N. asks Congo to investigate new Central Africa abuse allegations


The United Nations said on Tuesday it has asked Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate four new allegations that its troops had sexually abused children in Central African Republic while deployed as U.N. peacekeepers.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the latest four victims were “residents of the Ngakobo camp for internally displaced persons in Ouaka prefecture and were allegedly sexually exploited and abused by peacekeepers between 2014 and 2015.”

He said the U.N. mission in Central African Republic was working to ensure the victims have “access to appropriate medical and psycho-social assistance.”

Haq said Democratic Republic of Congo has 10 days to notify the United Nations if it intends to investigate the accusations. If it does not the world body will conduct its own inquiry.

The U.N. mission in Central African Republic announced in January that the Congolese contingent would be sent home after failing an internal assessment. The U.N. review of Congolese troops assessed the equipment, the vetting procedures and overall preparedness of the contingent.

Haq said the repatriation of some 800 Congolese troops was due to start on Feb. 25.

There have now been dozens of abuse accusations against U.N. peacekeepers, French and European troops. The world body has pledged to crack down on allegations of misconduct and abuse to avoid a repeat of past mistakes.

An independent review panel accused the United Nations and its agencies of grossly mishandling allegations of child sexual abuse by foreign troops in Central African Republic in 2013 and 2014.

The previous head of the U.N. mission in Central African Republic, Babacar Gaye, resigned last August.

Foreign troops were deployed in Central African Republic after mainly Muslim rebels seized power in the majority Christian country in 2013, provoking reprisals and fuelling religious and inter-communal violence that has killed thousands.

French troops have been in the country since December 2013. European Union troops were there from April 2014 to March 2015. A United Nations peacekeeping mission assumed authority from African Union troops in September 2014.