France has vowed to punish any of its soldiers if they are proven to have committed child rape in the Central African Republic.
Fourteen French peacekeepers who spearheaded the international protection of civilians there at the end of 2013 are under investigation concerning accusations that they sodomised boys as young as age nine.
French President François Hollande has said: “If some soldiers — for the moment I don’t know more — behaved badly, there will be sanctions at the same level of the trust we have for our armies. Because I am proud of our armies. I will, therefore, be strict with those who may have behaved badly, if that is the case in Central Africa.”
The United Nations has suspended aid worker Anders Kompass for passing a confidential internal report to the French authorities because of the UN’s alleged failure to take action.
The UN said it has been investigating sexual abuse accusations against French soldiers. The report focuses on activities at a centre for displaced people at Bangui airport.
France intervened in its former colony over two years ago to stop violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels.
According to the UN, the leak of the internal documents was a “serious breach of protocol.”