LIBREVILLE: The United Nations has detained one of its peacekeepers suspected of sexually abusing minors in the Central African Republic (CAR), the UN’s MINUSCA mission there said Friday.
The latest alleged incident was just the latest in a string of cases implicating the blue helmets.
The UN had identified the suspect, a Mauritanian national, and placed him in “confinement” pending an enquiry into the alleged crimes in the south of the country last month, said the force.
Three alleged victims have been sent for medical and psychological testing.
“Due to the seriousness of these allegations and the information gathered by the preliminary fact-finding mission, the United Nations took immediate and appropriate measures, including the confinement of the one suspect who has been identified,” MINUSCA said in its statement.
A team of investigators had been sent to the scene to collect evidence and identify any other perpetrators.
MINUSCA chief Parfait Onanga-Anyanga backed the UN secretary general’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual crimes committed by their peacekeepers.
The case is just the latest in a series of allegations of sex abuse against UN peacekeepers.
Peacekeepers have also been accused of failing to help civilians caught up in violence, notably in the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
Last month, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution aimed at toughening the UN response to peacekeeper misconduct following a string of such failures.
The United States, the top contributor to the UN’s $6.9-billion peacekeeping budget, has moved to cut funding, raising concern about the performance of missions.
On Tuesday, a UN spokesman announced that a Nigerian policeman serving as a peacekeeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo had been sent home and barred from peacekeeping after an investigation found he had sexually exploited a woman.
MINUSCA has been present in impoverished and unstable Central African Republic since 2014 and includes troops from 20 nations.
One of the world’s poorest and most unstable countries, the CAR spiralled into bloodshed after longtime leader Francois Bozize was overthrown in 2013 by a mainly Muslim rebel alliance called the Seleka.
The United Nations has 96,000 peacekeepers serving in 14 missions worldwide.