France investigates alleged child abuse by its troops in Central Africa

France investigates alleged child abuse by its troops in Central Africa, will take all necessary measure to make sure truth comes out.

BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (FILE – NOVEMBER 23, 2013) (REUTERS) – A French prosecutor is carrying out a preliminary investigation into allegations of child abuse by French soldiers stationed in Central African Republic, a Justice Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday (April 29).

A French judicial source said the prosecutor’s office had received a U.N. internal report on the sexual abuse of children by French troops in July 2014 and was investigating if there had been abuse of minors.

The source said investigators had asked for assistance from Central African authorities. An adviser to the Central African Republic president declined to comment.

A U.N. staff member has admitted giving French authorities an unredacted report on an investigation into alleged sexual abuses by French soldiers in the Central African Republic, the United Nations said.

France said in a joint written statement by the defence and foreign ministries it would take all measures necessary to ensure the truth comes out regarding alleged abuse of children by French soldiers in Central African Republic and would impose the strictest punishment on those responsible if proved true.

France intervened in its former colony more than two years ago to stem violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels, who took power. It started withdrawing some of its 2,000 troops earlier this year handing over operations to U.N. peacekeepers.