The South African military said Thursday it is investigating allegations of sexual abuse by some of its soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“The SANDF [South African National Defence Force] swiftly moved to send its legal officers and investigators to the mission area to deal with the efficacy of such reports,” spokesman Brig. Gen. Mafi Mgobozi said in a statement.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday five South African peacekeepers were facing allegations of sexually exploiting women in the DRC.
According to Dujarric, one of the cases allegedly involves a minor who was sexually abused between 2014 and 2016. “All five incidents involve paternity and child support claims,” he said.
The military denied media reports claiming it was not cooperating with the UN on the case.
“Once again it must be noted that these investigations are being conducted in close liaison with the United Nations,” Mgobozi said.
This is not the first time peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse.
Four years ago, human rights groups accused French peacekeepers of raping several children in the Central African Republic (CAR).
French prosecutors, however, dropped charges against them due to lack of evidence.
Last year, the Congo Republic withdrew its troops serving under the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR over allegations of sexual exploitation.