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UN investigating peacekeeping member for alleged sexual abuse in CAR

By Danielle Haynes
UN investigating peacekeeping member for alleged sexual abuse in CAR
Babacar Gaye, head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) is overseeing an investigation into a UN soldier accused of sexually abusing a minor in the Central African Republic. Photo by Dany Balepe/MINUSCA

NEW YORK, June 4 (UPI) -- The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic has launched an investigation into an alleged sexual assault of an underage girl by one of its personnel.

UN spokesman St├ęphane Dujarric, speaking in New York, said the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) is heading up the investigation into the incident. Babacar Gaye, head of MINUSCA, is overseeing the inquiry.

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Dujarric told reporters the abuse was allegedly committed by one of the mission's so-called "blue helmet" members located in the eastern part of the CAR.

"The UN has also asked the troop-contributing government of the soldier implicated by these allegations to launch an investigation as soon as possible," he said.

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The nationality of the soldier was not reported.

Dujarric said the alleged victim -- whose name and age were not revealed -- had received treatment and measures were put in place to provide her with additional protection.

The incident comes about a month after a UN report was leaked detailing allegations that French peacekeeping troops sexually exploited children in the CAR.

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The report was passed on to French authorities by UN Director of Field Operations Anders Kompass, a Swedish national, because he said the UN failed to stop the alleged abuse.

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Kompass was initially suspended by the UN and is under investigation by the Office for Internal Oversight Service. He faced dismissal from the organization, but a judge with a UN dispute tribunal ordered his suspension be lifted May 6.

The report, titled "Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces," says the peacekeeping troops allegedly raped starving and homeless boys as young as 9 years old in exchange for food. The alleged assaults happened between December 2013 and June 2014 at a camp for internally displaced people at M'Poko airport in Bangui.

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The French government has been investigating the allegations since it received the report from Kompass in July 2014. French authorities said they are investigating up to 14 soldiers.

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