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CAR Peacekeepers Face New Sexual Abuse Allegations

FILE - A Burundian member of the peacekeeping force from the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) stands guard as Muslims leave the Grand Mosque in the PK5 neighborhood of Bangui, Nov. 27, 2015.

The U.N. mission in the Central African Republic said Tuesday that it was investigating new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. peacekeepers and international forces in the country's capital.

The mission, known as MINUSCA, did not give details of the allegations but said staff from the U.N. Children's Fund had met with four alleged victims, all girls, and were helping them to obtain medical care and assessing their psychosocial needs.

There have been at least 17 previous accusations of sexual misconduct by members of the U.N. mission in the CAR. The alleged incidents led U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to fire his top envoy to the country, Babacar Gaye, in August.

MINUSCA said Tuesday that that its mission chief, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, had met with U.N. military and police personnel in Bangui and had reminded them that the U.N. would not be complacent regarding perpetrators of sexual abuse or their accomplices.

"There is no place in U.N. peacekeeping for those who betray the trust of the people we are here to help," he was quoted as saying.

The mission chief said fact-finding missions were underway, and he called on the suspects' home countries to conduct their own investigations.

MINUSCA was created in April 2014, taking over peacekeeping duties in the volatile CAR from a previous African Union mission.

It has more than 10,000 military and police personnel from more than 30 different countries. Member states are responsbile for prosecuting their troops taking part in the mission, while the U.N. is limited to repatriating accused perpetrators.