U.N. Official Ousted Amid Allegations of Sex Abuse by Peacekeepers

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Babacar Gaye. Photo: Corbis

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon announced yesterday that his top official in the Central African Republic, former Senegalese Army general Babacar Gaye, had resigned at his request. The statement comes after repeated allegations of sexual abuse against civilians, including children, and against U.N. peacekeepers in the region. Most recently, Amnesty International released a report on Tuesday accusing a U.N. police officer of raping a 12-year-old girl during a nighttime house-to-house search in Bangui. 

Ban's spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said that, since the U.N. began sending peacekeepers to protect civilians in the Central African Republic last fall, U.N. personnel have been accused in 11 separate cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. Worldwide, the U.N. self-reports nearly 80 allegations last year.

“I cannot put into words how anguished and angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over the years of sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. forces,” Ban said yesterday. He plans to speak with top personnel in a video conference today to urge them to report allegations immediately, and investigate thoroughly. “Failure to do so will have consequences,” Ban said. “I want our leaders to know they are accountable.”