U.N. and French peacekeepers have already been accused of widespread abuse including offering food to children in return for sex.
Even more allegations of sexual abuse have hit the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, where the international mission is already facing a barrage of criticism.
The U.N. mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, said it had received “new information on the allegations of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse committed by its members and civilian U.N. workers,” in 2014 and 2015 in the central region of Kemo.
“At present, our main concern is to ensure that the victims are assisted and that a probe is launched so that the perpetrators are punished,” it said.
The accusations are only the latest to hit the MINUSCA force in the deeply poor and restive country. Both U.N. and French peacekeepers have been accused of widespread abuse including offering food to children in return for sex.
Since the start of the U.N. peacekeeping mandate in September 2014, more than 40 suspected cases of sexual attacks and abuse have been reported, and French investigators too are looking into rape charges against forces stationed in the former colony.
The U.N. said in a 2015 report that 480 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse had been made between 2008 and 2013. Of these, a third involved minors in countries where U.N. peacekeepers operated, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Haiti and South Sudan.