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UN Identifies 41 Peacekeepers Accused of CAR Sex Abuse

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power meets peacekeepers from Burundi at the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 19, 2013. Peacekeepers from Burundi are accused of sexual abuse while in the Central African Republic.

The United Nations says it has identified 41 peacekeepers accused of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic.

A U.N. spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said 25 of the peacekeepers are from Burundi while 16 are from Gabon, and he said they are suspected in alleged sexual abuse that took place in 2014 and 2015.

“Responsibility for further investigations lies with Burundi and Gabon,” Dujarric said, adding the United Nations expects those countries to do an investigation and “bring the perpetrators to justice.”

He said all of the alleged perpetrators had been rotated out of the Central African Republic before the allegations surfaced.

The U.N. investigation, which also included investigators from Burundi and Gabon, took four months and included interviews of 139 possible victims.

Dujarric said 91 of the possible victims were not able to fully identify their perpetrators or to provide corroborating evidence. He said 25 minors were among those who said they were sexually assaulted, including six who have filed paternity claims.

Dujarric said since the allegations came to light, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in CAR has strengthened preventive measures against sexual abuse and improved its methods for reporting alleged abuse.

The U.N. peacekeeping force in CAR., known as MINUSCA, has been dogged by allegations of sexual abuse since its deployment in April 2014 to help stop fighting between the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels and the anti-balaka Christian militias.