U.N. peacekeepers accused of rape in the Central African Republic

Story highlights

  • Three females, including a minor, have accused U.N. peacekeepers of rape
  • It was not immediately clear how many troops were allegedly involved
  • Head of U.N. peacekeepers in country was fired over sex abuse allegations

United Nations (CNN)Three females, including a minor, have accused U.N. peacekeepers working in the Central African Republic of rape, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Their families reported the alleged abuse to the U.N. mission there, spokeswoman Vannina Maestracci told reporters. It was not immediately clear how many troops were allegedly involved.
    News of the allegations comes one week after the head of the U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic was fired over previous sex abuse accusations.
    "I believe the disturbing number of allegations we have seen in many countries -- but particularly in the Central African Republic in the period before U.N. peacekeepers were deployed and since -- speaks to the need to take action now," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week. "Enough is enough."
    Including the three new accusations, there have been 14 allegations of possible sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic since the United Nations established the force there in April 2014.
    Similar allegations also were made against French peacekeepers who arrived in the country a year before the U.N. force.
    Peacekeepers' involvement in the Central African Republic, one of the world's poorest nations, stems from political violence that began in 2013.
    France and African nations sent peacekeepers after a coalition of mostly Muslim rebels ousted President François Bozizé in March 2013. Christian and Muslim militias battled for control before a tentative political transition began.
    The violence prompted a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes. Some sought refuge in neighboring countries, but many others were internally displaced, living in makeshift camps.