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Ghana's Army Investigating Allegation of Sexual Abuse in Liberia


Ghana's army says it is ordering an investigation into allegations that its soldiers serving with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Liberia are involved in a sex-for-aid scandal.

The allegations were in a report by the group Save the Children. It said Ghanaian soldiers in the peacekeeping mission are among those who demand sex from girls, some as young as eight, in return for aid.

The report said some of the girls have babies fathered by Ghanaian soldiers.

A military spokesman, Colonel Emmanuel Nibo, told the VOA the report came as a surprise to Ghana's military.

He said the high command has ordered immediate investigations into the allegations.

"Well the Ghana Armed Forces is rather [surprised] about the report because our troops are quite aware of this particular sexual exploitation and abuse because it is one subject they are [briefed] on before they leave the shores of Ghana for the operations," said Colonel Nibo. "So when the news came most of us were [surprised], so the military high command has directed the contingent commander in Liberia to investigate the allegation as well as the report and submit the report to Accra for them to study and know exactly what is going on."

Colonel Nibo said the army is taking the allegations seriously and would like to establish whether the report is accurate.

"In the first place we need to find out whether the report is right and also find out whether any of the troops, Ghanaian troops, because they were very specific, they said Ghanaian troops, whether any Ghanaian troop [were] involved," he said.

There are about 700 Ghanaian soldiers serving with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Liberia, and the military command is also worried about their health in the light of the sex allegations.

"We also know that HIV/AIDS is also an issue if you get yourself involved in sex. So in our particular situation if … before you go on a mission and you go for medical examination and you are found positive that is your end, you will never be on any peace mission again so the troops are all aware but in all situations some people are adventurous," added Colonel Nibo.

Colonel Nibo also said its personnel are very much aware of the military regulations and should any of them be implicated they will face the law.