Friday, September 17, 2021

UN withdraws Gabonese peacekeepers in Central African Republic

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LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP) – The United Nations withdrew 450 Gabonese peacekeepers from its mission in the Central African Republic following allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, the Gabonese government said Wednesday.

“Following the numerous cases of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse that are being processed, the United Nations today decided to withdraw the Gabonese contingent from MINUSCA,” the statement said, referring to the mission there.

Gabon’s Defense Ministry said it opened an investigation into the allegations.

“If proven, their perpetrators will be brought before military courts and tried with extreme rigor,” warned the Gabonese Defense Ministry.

The UN mission in the Central African Republic was deployed in 2014 to end the insecurity resulting from inter-religious and inter-community fighting that erupted in 2013. The mission still has more than 10,000 personnel in the country.

The UN mission there has also faced allegations of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers from other countries in the past.

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