The United Nations said on Tuesday it is investigating new allegations that UN peacekeepers sexually abused four underage girls in the capital of Central African Republic.
The investigation is looking into how many peacekeepers were involved, the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general said. Stephane Dujarric did not say what countries the accused peacekeepers were from.
The UN is asking the countries to immediately investigate, as nations are responsible for holding their own troops accountable in such cases.
The new allegations follow a series of sexual abuse allegations against UN peacekeepers last year in Central African Republic, which has suffered years of sectarian violence. Last month, an independent panel’s report sharply criticised the UN response to the allegations, saying it failed to properly vet peacekeepers for past abuses and needed to do more to protect children.
The UN said on Tuesday that a fact-finding mission is under way.
The UN does not name countries whose peacekeepers are accused in sexual misconduct, under pressure from member states, but UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he intends to start doing so this year.
Ban last year announced his intention to repatriate the troops of countries that don’t act on allegations of sexual misconduct.
At least two of the allegations were related to a displaced persons camp in the capital, Bangui. A statement on Tuesday by the peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic said mission chief Parfait Onanga-Anyanga stressed the need for patrols in such camps in collaboration with local security forces.
“There is no place in UN peacekeeping for those who betray the trust of the people we are here to help,” Onanga-Anyanga said on Tuesday.