The allegations that have been made against 14 French troops being sexually abusive towards young children in the Central African Republic, which has become quite the scandal, is currently being investigated. In efforts to help the African Union restore order following dogmatic violence brought about by Muslim rebels fighting against those trying to protect the Christians, French soldiers were dispatched to the grief-stricken nation to serve as peacekeepers for the UN in December 2013 until June 2014.
Bangui’s M’poko airport, which is the location where hundreds of troops were stationed, ultimately became one massive refugee camp. Children who had escaped the violence surrounding their home went searching for a place that could offer them safety and shelter. The camp, which was suppose to be a safe haven for these children, became a place of horror and scandal, instead. It housed more than 100,000 people that had become orphans, left to their own devices. Here at the camp, hunger had become so prevalent that every time food was distributed, riots would erupt. It was at this camp that the alleged 14 French soldiers sexually abused a number of different children, the youngest child only being 9 years of age.
An investigation regarding the scandal of French troops sexually abusing African children at the camp site, has been opened by prosecutors in Paris. While the ministry of defense in France had given their word to do whatever is necessary for the truth to be revealed, another scandal was made apparent when reports alleged that the ministry of defense was really trying to conceal any allegations made against the troops participating in acts of sexual abuse. This accusation led to police investigators to be sent to the former French colony to start a probe about the case.
The Central African Republic released a statement saying that the troops that took part in the sexual abuse scandal, which is a case currently under investigation, will have legal action brought against them. According to Aristide Sokambi, the Justice Minister of the Central African Republic, his nation does not have it out for France, but the individuals in question will be singled out and held accountable for their actions.
The man who initially revealed the claims made against the French troops about their sexual abusive conduct with children at the camp was child welfare worker, Alexis Nguitté. When he first heard rumors in 2014 about French troops allegedly forcing themselves on children in order for them to be able to eat, he decided to do some of his own investigating. When he spoke with the victims of the abuse, who were willing to share their story with him, he discovered the rumors were true.
After the abuse was confirmed, Nguitté gave that information to the human rights and justice department of the UN mission, as well as the United Nation’s International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The victims were interviewed for a second time to ensure each child’s story would match up with the stories told to Nguitté.
Now that the scandal of sexual abuse towards children who sought shelter in an African camp by troops that were sent to protect them has been leaked and now under investigation, the people of Bangui strongly feel these allegations made against the troopers are indeed the truth. A member of a Central African Muslim association said that the troops were sent to help people, to bring some peace to the chaos, but instead the French came and caused more damage by raping those who were helpless, those just wanting food to survive. Tracking down each trooper who participated in the barbaric claims being made has become number one priority, because the people of the Central African Republic want justice to be rightfully served.
By Kameron Hadley
Photo By United Nations Photo- Creativecommons Flickr License