UN investigating new allegations of sexual abuse against peacekeepers

Story highlights

  • Report accuses the peacekeepers, known as "blue helmets," of misconduct
  • UN dispatching teams to investigate and take preventive measures

(CNN)The United Nations is investigating new allegations of sexual abuse against its peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.

A report released this week accused the peacekeepers, known as "blue helmets," of misconduct, sexual exploitation, abuse and fraternization with the local population.
    The UN stabilization mission in the country, known as the MINUSCA, said it is dispatching teams to investigate and take preventive and disciplinary measures.
    The head of the operation, special representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, said any incident of abuse is "utterly abhorrent." He expressed sadness such reports continue to emerge despite the efforts to prevent, investigate, and ensure accountability for such misconduct.
    In September, the UN said it had received 63 cases of misconduct at the mission since it started last year.
    Fifteen of those allegations relate to possible sexual exploitation and are under investigation, the UN said. Following those reports, the UN fired the former head of the peacekeepers in the country.
    Rape allegations have also been made against French peacekeepers.
    African nations and France sent peacekeepers to CAR after violence between Christian and Muslim militias erupted in 2013. A coalition of mostly Muslim rebels ousted President François Bozizé in March 2013, prompting a humanitarian crisis.
    The UN refugee agency said it is concerned about the insecurity and the endless violence forcing people to flee their homes.
    Nearly 400,000 people have been internally displaced as a result of the violence, while almost 460,000 have fled to neighboring countries, the refugee agency said.