Gabonese peacekeepers leave country after suspicion of sexual abuse

Published on : 15/09/2021 – 15:17

The Gabonese Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday that the UN had decided to withdraw 450 Gabonese peacekeepers present in the Central African Republic after accusations of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Rushed departure. The United Nations has decided to withdraw some 450 Gabonese peacekeepers from its peacekeeping force in Central Africa following allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse that the government in Libreville is investigating, it announced on Wednesday (September 15th). Gabonese Ministry of Defense.

“In recent weeks, facts of a particular gravity, contrary to military ethics and to the honor of the armies, committed by certain elements of the Gabonese battalions (…) have been reported”, writes the ministry in a press release. transmitted to AFP.

Sexual abuse allegations

“Following the many cases of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse being processed, the United Nations today decided to withdraw the Gabonese contingent from Minusca”, the UN mission in the Central African Republic, and “a an investigation has been opened by Gabon “, the text specifies.

La Minusca was deployed by the UN in April 2014 in an attempt to end the bloody civil war that followed a coup the previous year against President François Bozizé. The fighting that followed between the coalition of armed groups that had overthrown him, the Seleka, predominantly Muslim, and militias supported by the deposed head of state, the anti-balakas, dominated by Christians and animists, peaked from 2014 to 2015.

Recurring accusations

The civil war has since declined considerably in intensity, but Minusca still has some 15,000 personnel in this poor Central African country, 14,000 of whom are in uniform, with the priority mission of protecting civilians.

Charges of sexual crimes and offenses against peacekeepers are recurrent in the Central African Republic, some contingents have been withdrawn in the past but no investigation has resulted in convictions to date, at least publicly.

With AFP

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