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New French sex abuse probe in Central Africa

05 April 2016, 17:59

Paris - French prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into new allegations of sexual abuse against French troops based in Central African Republic, a judiciary source said on Tuesday.

The prosecutors' office said the probe was opened after the UN passed on allegations of sexual abuse involving French troops that took place in the eastern town of Dekoa between 2013 and 2015.

The UN did not give details on number of the alleged victims, their ages, or the number of soldiers involved, the source said.

The investigation was opened on Friday, a day after the UN said more 100 victims had come forward with horrifying new accounts of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers and French troops based in the war-torn country

Most of the victims were under-age girls.

They included accusations that French soldiers in the Sangaris force had in 2014 forced young girls to commit sex acts with animals in return for money.

Apart from French troops, the accusations concern soldiers from Burundi and Gabon who were serving in the UN peacekeeping force in Central African Republic (MINUSCA), also between 2013 and 2015.

AIDS-Free World, a civil society group that tracks peacekeeper sex abuse cases, said three girls told a UN rights officer that they were tied up and undressed by a French commander inside a camp and forced to have sex with a dog.

The girls were then allegedly given about $9 in payment.



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