UN chief sacks CAR mission head over sex abuse claims

UNITED NATIONS (TIP): UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has fired his mission chief in the Central African Republic amid “disturbing allegations” of sexual abuse, even as he reposed “full confidence” in the Indian diplomat Atul Khare, his senior-most peacekeeping official in the country.

Babacar Gaye, 64, of Senegal “tendered his resignation at my request,” Ban told reporters here yesterday.

“I cannot put into words how anguished, angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over the years of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN forces,” he said.

The unprecedented move by Ban followed fresh accusations that a peacekeeping soldier had raped a 12-year-old girl.

The allegations have also raised questions over the responsibility of UN’s peacekeeping and field support wings, one of which is headed by Khare.

“The Secretary-General has full confidence in (UN peacekeeping head Herve) Ladsous, the peacekeeping department, and, of course, Khare, the head of the Department of Field [Support].

“Both DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and DFS [Department of Field Support] are dedicated to ensuring the highest level of standards and accountability among personnel,” Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Khare, 55, was appointed head of the Department of Field Support, in January this year.

Deployed in early 2014, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) in the CAR, is currently aiming to defuse sectarian tensions across the country, but it has been plagued by a series of sexual abuse allegations.

More than two years of civil war and violence have displaced thousands of people amid ongoing clashes between the mainly Muslim Seleka alliance and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian.

The UN estimates that some 450,000 people remain displaced inside the country while thousands of others have sought asylum across the borders.

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