Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

French troops accused of 'forcing girls into sex act with dog' in CAR as rape claims against UN peacekeepers mount

Incident is one of a catalogue of accusations against international troops in the Central African Republic

Published 31/03/2016

People gather on the grounds of a hospital where relatives are being treated December 17, 2007 in Kabo in the northern Central African Republic. Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the world's poorest and most neglected countries with an average life expectancy of 39 years. Decades of fighting various rebel factions in the north of the country have resulted in hundreds of deaths and over 200,000 internally displaced people. Outside of the capital Bangui there is no electricity or paved roads and banditry is extensive. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
People gather on the grounds of a hospital where relatives are being treated December 17, 2007 in Kabo in the northern Central African Republic. Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the world's poorest and most neglected countries with an average life expectancy of 39 years. Decades of fighting various rebel factions in the north of the country have resulted in hundreds of deaths and over 200,000 internally displaced people. Outside of the capital Bangui there is no electricity or paved roads and banditry is extensive. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Almost 100 girls in the Central African Republic have said they were sexually abused by international peacekeepers, with three claiming they were tied up, undressed, and forced to have sex with a dog by a French military commander in 2014.

The United Nations has announced an urgent investigation into allegations of rape and assault earlier this month made by a US campaign group , saying reports dated back three years.

A delegation from its “Minusca” mission aiming to stabilise the war-torn country interviewed victims on Saturday, uncovering horrific claims against UN and local forces, as well as troops sent by France.

The results of the investigation have not yet been made public but the Aids-Free World campaign group said sources had passed it details.

A spokesperson said three girls reported they and a fourth victim, who has since died of an unknown illness, were tied up and undressed at a military camp by a commander from the French “Sangaris” force.

They said they were then allegedly forced to have sex with a dog before being given 5,000 Central African Francs (£6) each in 2014.

One of the victims said she was called “the Sangaris’ dog” by people in the community after the attack. 

The three surviving girls had sought basic medical treatment, Aids-Free World said.

It is far from the only report of abuse in CAR, where peacekeepers have been accused of raping girls as young as 12.

Read more

98 girls 'abused by peacekeepers in Central African Republic'  

A report leaked last year included claims that French troops forced refugee children fleeing violence to perform sex acts for food.

The team has identified the alleged involvement of UN contingents from Burundi and Gabon, which will remain confined to camps during the investigation, Mr Dujarric said, adding that allegations against French forces are also being investigated.

A report earlier this month said there were 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers in 2015 - 22 of them in CAR.

The head of Minusca, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, described his “despair and anger” at the allegations and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

CAR was plunged into conflict after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled the president in 2013, leading to the formation of the Christian anti-Balaka militia, unleashing sectarian fighting that forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

The UN sent a 10,000-strong force in the following year to help restore order.

Violence declined in November and hopes for stability rose with the inauguration of a new President on Wednesday but sexual abuse and war crimes remain a serious concern.

The UN and French ministry of defence have not responded to a request for a comment.

Independent

Independent News Service

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph