UN says Congo withdrawing troops from Central African Republic mission

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U.N. peacekeepers take a break as they patrol along a street during the presidential election in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Media Coulibaly
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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations said on Wednesday that Congo Republic will withdraw its troops from a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic after a review sparked by sexual abuse accusations found “systemic problems in command and control.”

The country has some 630 troops on the ground in Central African Republic, according to the latest U.N. figures. A U.N. database of sexual abuse and exploitation accusations showed three reported incidents involving Congo Republic troops in Central African Republic this year. Nine were reported in 2016.

“The review of the deployment of uniformed military personnel from the Republic of Congo found that the nature and extent of existing allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, in their totality, point to systemic problems in command and control,” the United Nations said in a statement.

“These problems have also been compounded by issues related to the preparedness, overall discipline, maintenance of contingent owned equipment, and logistical capacity of these troops,” it said.

The world body said the review was shared with the Congo Republic authorities who then “decided to withdraw their military personnel.”

The 13,000-strong peacekeeping mission is seeking to contain violence in a multi-year conflict driven by ethnic and religious grievances and vying over vast diamond resources.

The United Nations said some 140 Congo Republic police would remain part of the peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic because “failures identified with the military contingent are not reflected by the performance of the police.”

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish)

 

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