The Congolese Government said on Thursday that it had begun trial of 20 of its soldiers over alleged rape and other crimes committed while serving as UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic.
Jeanine Mabunda, President Joseph Kabila‘s Adviser on Sexual Violence, said in Kinshasa that the soldiers had been in jail since returning to Congo in December, 2015 and January, 2016, following investigations conducted in CAR by military investigators.
She said that the soldiers were being tried by a military court in Kinshasa.
An official said on the condition of anonymity that the UN mission in CAR had been beset by accusations of sexual abuse since taking over control from an African Union mission in September, 2014.
He noted that Congo’s 800 peacekeepers serving in the mission were repatriated last month, following a series of accusations of sexual abuse of women and children.
The official said that Congolese authorities had vowed to investigate the allegations.
He, however, pointed out that a government spokesman had dismissed many of the allegations as fabricated and accused the UN of singling out Congolese soldiers.
Meanwhile, the problem has surfaced elsewhere as the UN said this week that it had received new sexual abuse allegations against peacekeepers from Morocco and Burundi, including one that involved a 14-year-old girl. (Reuters/NAN)