CAR: UN to send home Congolese peacekeepers over rape allegations

About 120 peacekeepers from the Republic of Congo and DR Congo serving under the UN mission in Central African Republic are to be sent home following allegations of sexual abuse and rape.

The soldiers have been serving under United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

At least seven rape cases were reported late last year with allegations pointing to the United Nations peacekeepers, which prompted a probe.

According to a statement, following the allegations, the UN dispatched experts on ground who found sufficient evidence that five of the victims were minors and had been sexually abused and that one adult had been sexually exploited.

Due to the gravity of the allegations, the United Nations decided to repatriate the officers deployed in the region of Bambari where the alleged sexual assault was reported, according to the statement.

“The soldiers implicated in these cases are from the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The (two) governments have been notified of these allegations and have been asked to launch investigations,” it reads.

Awaiting their repatriation, the officers have been confined to barracks.

This is not the first time there has been cases of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic by United Nations peacekeepers.

In March, last year, the United Nations came under fire after reports of sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic (CAR) by French troops.

The reports of the abuses, which took place between 2013 and 2014, came to light early last year after a confidential United Nations report was leaked.

The document detailed the rape and other abuses by French peacekeeping troops at a centre for internally displaced persons in the capital Bangui.

Rwanda maintains 750 peacekeeping troops and 140 special police officers under MINUSCA.