TZ to investigate sex abuse claims against peacekeepers in DRC

03Apr 2016
Our Reporter
Guardian On Sunday
TZ to investigate sex abuse claims against peacekeepers in DRC

TANZANIA said yesterday it will investigate fresh reports on sex abuse allegations against Tanzanian peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

UN peacekeepers from Tanzania patrol.

According to Reuters, the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC said late on Friday that it had received allegations of sexual abuse against Tanzanian peacekeepers based in Congo's northeast, the latest in a series of such accusations against UN forces.

However, Minister for Defence and National Service Dr Hussein Mwinyi said he had not yet received the latest claims against Tanzanian peacekeepers.

“I will have to check with the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) and I will be in a position to comment on Monday (tomorrow),” said Dr Mwinyi when reached by phone yesterday.

The UN mission said in a statement that it received the allegations against members of its Force Intervention Brigade tasked with offensive operations in the village of Mavivi on March 23 and immediately launched an investigation.

"Initial results suggest that there is evidence of transactional sex and sex with minors," the statement said. "There are also a number of paternity claims."

The statement did not say how many cases of abuse had been alleged or provide any further details about the accusations.

UN peacekeeping missions have been beset by accusations of sexual abuse. The United Nations reported 99 such allegations against staff members across the UN system last year.

The United Nations said this week that it had expanded an investigation into new allegations of sexual abuse by foreign peacekeepers in Central African Republic.

UN officials said they had interviewed some 108 alleged victims, most of them minors.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, which was initially put in place during a civil war that took place in 1998-2003, is the world's largest, with around 20,000 uniformed personnel.

The Security Council renewed its mandate earlier this week for one year.