C.Africa to take 'legal action' against French soldiers in rape case

6th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

The Central African Republic will take legal action against the French soldiers accused of raping children in exchange for food at a refugee camp, the country's justice minister said Wednesday.

"Legal action will be pursued... These are still very serious acts," said Justice Minister Aristide Sokambi, insisting his nation was not targeting France but individual soldiers.

Several children -- the youngest just nine -- allege that 14 soldiers dispatched to the impoverished nation as part of a peacekeeping force sexually abused some of them in exchange for food.

"We regret the fact we were not brought into these investigations despite the cooperation agreements we have with France," Sokambi added.

"So I have instructed the public prosecutor to open a probe and seek the evidence already at the disposal of the French."

French troops were deployed to the Central African Republic in December 2013 to help African Union peacekeepers restore order after a bout of sectarian bloodletting triggered by a civil war.

Hundreds of troops were stationed at Bangui airport, which was transformed into a giant refugee camp.

Most of the displaced families living amid the abandoned planes had lost everything in the conflict, which pitted mainly Muslim rebels against vigilantes from the majority Christian population.

© 2015 AFP

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