UN commander wants Congo troops out
CONGOLESE peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been accused of sexual abuse, fuel trafficking and poor discipline by the UN force commander who has called for them to be sent home.
Lieutenant-General Balla Keita said Congo should “commit itself to improving without delay the standard of its unit” or else a “decision should be made to repatriate and replace the Congolese battalion”, according to a memo dated May 12.
The document was released by the Code Blue Campaign of NGOs, which seeks to expose cases of sexual abuse and exploitation in UN peacekeeping.
Ismini Palla, a UN peacekeeping spokesperson, confirmed that an assessment of the Congolese contingent of the Minusca force in the CAR had been carried out.
“Results of this evaluation have been shared with the member-state and we are following up on options,” she said. “UN Peacekeeping is committed to the highest standards of performance and conduct.
“We will spare no action in order to meet this goal.”
Due to allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation last year, 120 of 750 Congolese troops were repatriated following allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation (SEA).
There were at least seven victims, six of whom were children, a UN report said. “The battalion is notorious for SEA misconducts, fuel trafficking and poor discipline,” Keita wrote in the memo, adding that he had sent “six blame letters” to the battalion commander this year.
The peacekeepers from Congo are deployed in Berberati, the country’s third-largest city. The UN has 10 000 troops and 2 000 people serving in its Minusca force in the CAR, which descended into bloody sectarian fighting after the 2013 overthrow of Francois Bozize. ANA