UN chief sacks C.Africa mission head over peacekeeper sex abuse claims
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Wednesday he had fired the mission chief in the Central African Republic, saying “enough is enough” after a string of allegations of child sex abuse by peacekeepers.
Senegalese diplomat Babacar Gaye “tendered his resignation at my request,” Ban told reporters at the global body’s headquarters in New York.
The move followed fresh accusations that a peacekeeper from the MINUSCA force had raped a 12-year-old girl, months after similar claims were made against Moroccan and Burundian troops in the unit.
The rape and the shooting death of a teenager and his father allegedly took place during an operation to arrest a former rebel chief in the Muslim PK5 district of Bangui on August 2 and 3 in which five people were killed, including a Cameroonian peacekeeper.
France is separately investigating claims that more than dozen of its soldiers serving in the Sangaris force in the Central African Republic sexually abused children in exchange for food.
“I cannot put into words how anguished and angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over the years of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN forces,” Ban said.
“When the United Nations deploys peacekeepers, we do so to protect the world’s most vulnerable people in the world’s most desperate places.”
Gaye, 64, had been MINUSCA mission chief and Ban’s special envoy in the Central African Republic since July of last year, when the peacekeepers were deployed.
The Central African Republic is struggling to recover from the sectarian violence that exploded after a 2013 coup, pitting mainly Muslim rebels against Christian militias.
“I will not tolerate any action by people who replace trust with fear,” Ban said.