France investigates allegation of child abuse by its troops in CAR

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EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT French forces were sent to the Central African Republic some 18 months ago — the aim was to stem violence between Christian militias and

France investigates allegation of child abuse by its troops in CAR

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT

French forces were sent to the Central African Republic some 18 months ago — the aim was to stem violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels who had seized power.

Now, there are allegations that instead of offering protection, more than a dozen French soldiers allegedly sexually abused children at a refugee camp.

French President Francois Hollande says if guilty, they will feel the full force of the law

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING:

“If certain soldiers, I don’t know anything more for the moment, behaved badly, there will be sanctions that measure up to the amount of trust we place in the ensemble of all our armies. I am proud of our armies, and thus am remorseless with regards to those who are proven to have behaved badly, if that’s the case, in CAR.”

The allegations came to light when Britain’s Guardian newspaper published extracts of an internal U.N. report suggesting 14 French soldiers had been involved in the alleged abuse — at this refugee at this camp at the airport.

(SOUNDBITE) (Sango) RESIDENT OF M’POKO SITE, MARIE PAUL MOKOFIO, SAYING:

“Yes, those French people did it on purpose. They came to look after us near the tarmac and they abused the little girls, even raping them at some point. When they came to take the girls I was there. They took a little boy and they raped him. He was bleeding from the anus. Somebody from the orphanage took over the affair.”

A judicial source said soldiers of other nationalities were also implicated by the U.N. report, but gave no further details.

Tags : troops, abuse, child, Allegation, Investigates, france

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