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French soldier in Central African Republic accused of sexual abuse – UN


Abidjan – A French soldier deployed to Central African Republic has been accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the latest in a series of allegations of misconduct against peacekeeping forces.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said that the agency was informed on Aug. 30, of allegations that a French soldier sexually abused a girl last year.
She gave birth to a child in April and lodged a paternity case with local authorities.
‘’We simply have to find ways to prevent such odious acts being committed by any soldier anywhere, who are supposed to be protecting vulnerable populations,” Zeid said in a statement on Thursday during a visit to Central African Republic.
He said French authorities had been informed of the latest allegation and the U.N. mission, which took over peacekeeping duties from French troops, had offered to help investigate.

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“Any U.N. or other foreign military personnel found guilty, must be given sentences that fit the crime,” Zeid said.
Meanwhile, French President Holland Hollande pledged to show no mercy if the allegations were confirmed.
According to reports, Foreign troops deployed to quell violence in the diamond-producing country, have repeatedly been the focus of abuse allegations this year.
At least 13 French, two Equatorial Guinea and three Chadian troops, were implicated in the alleged sexual abuse of children between December 2013 and June 2014, according to a U.N. report leaked in April.
France intervened in its former colony in 2013 to stem violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels. (Reuters/NAN)

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