The UN withdraws Gabon’s peacekeepers in the Central African Republic

LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP) – The United Nations is withdrawing 450 Gabonese peacekeepers from their mission in the Central African Republic following allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, the Gabonese government said on Wednesday.

“After the many cases of exploitation and sexual assault allegations that were dealt with, the UN today decided to withdraw the Gabonese contingent from MINUSCA,” the statement said, referring to the mission there.

Gabon’s Defense Ministry said it had launched an investigation into the allegations.

“If proven, their perpetrators will be brought before military tribunals and tried with extreme caution,” warned the Gabonese Ministry of Defense.

The UN mission in the Central African Republic was deployed in 2014 to stop the uncertainty stemming from interfaith and inter-municipal struggles that erupted in 2013. The mission still has more than 10,000 personnel in the country.

The UN mission there has also previously faced accusations of sexual exploitation of peacekeepers from other countries.

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