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UN to Investigate Sexual Abuse Allegations in Southern Sudan

The United Nations says it will investigate allegations that some peacekeepers in southern Sudan have been involved in the rape and sexual abuse of children. The abuse allegations were published Tuesday in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper. For VOA News, Tom Rivers reports from London.

Citing an internal UNICEF report and interviews with nearly two dozen alleged victims, the Telegraph newspaper says U.N. peacekeepers and civilian staff have been involved in the rape and abuse of children as young as 12 in southern Sudan.

The paper says it gathered personal accounts of those said to have been victimized in the town of Juba. It reported the first signs of sexual exploitation surfaced shortly after the peacekeepers arrived in southern Sudan, nearly two years ago.

There are more than 11,000 U.N. peacekeepers and police from 70 countries in the region.

The Telegraph reports Sudan's government gathered evidence, including video footage of U.N. workers having sex with young girls.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jane Holl Lute is quoted in the paper as saying, the allegations would be investigated.

U.N. policy prohibits all personnel from engaging in sexual exploitation, abuse or prostitution.