France Country's soldiers accused of raping Central African Republic children

This was made known after a leaked UN report said victims as young as eight were raped in exchange for food and money.

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Reports have emerged that French peacekeeping soldiers allegedly sexually abused children in the Central African Republic.

This was made known after a leaked UN report said victims as young as eight were raped in exchange for food and money.

The defence ministry said in a statement that the French government "was made aware at the end of July 2014 by the UN's high commissioner for human rights of accusations by children that they had been sexually abused by French soldiers"

Al Jazeera quoting the defence ministry reports that the abuse was alleged by around 10 children and reportedly took place at a centre for displaced people near the airport of the capital Bangui between December 2013 and June 2014.

Also, UN spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed that UN rights investigators had conducted a probe last year following "serious allegations" of child abuse and sexual exploitation by French troops, and had suspended a staff member for leaking the report in July.

According to Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World, the report detailed interviews with 6 children, aged eight to 15, that approached the French soldiers to ask for food, whereupon the soldiers demanded for sex in exchange.

However some controversy surrounds the report owing to the fact that it was leaked. According to a report by The Guardian, the UN employee accused of the leak, Swedish national Anders Kompass, is based in Geneva and turned the report over to French authorities because his bosses had failed to take action.

He has been suspended and faces dismissal for breaching protocol, because as asserted by UN officials, Kompass passed on the confidential document before it was presented to senior officials in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, suggesting that senior UN officials were not even aware of the report's findings when it was leaked.

Meanwhile an investigation into the allegation has been opened and French President Francois Hollande vowed to "show no mercy" if the troops were found guilty.

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