Bangui - A civilian staff member with the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic is alleged to have committed sexual exploitation, bringing the total number of those accused of sexual abuse to 16 since the peacekeeping mission arrived to help stabilise the country, the UN said on Tuesday.
The UN mission gave few details about the allegations, other than to say that the suspect was a civilian. Thirteen of the 16 cases involve UN peacekeeping personnel, it said.
The UN mission "condemns in the strongest possible terms any instance of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by UN personnel in the CAR", said the statement issued on Tuesday.
Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, told reporters in New York that the accused "remains in country and will not be allowed to leave the Central African Republic for the time being".
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Local authorities had been informed that the UN was conducting an internal investigation, said Dujarric. If the case went forward, the person would have no UN immunity, he said.
CAR has been rocked by violence between Muslims and Christians since mostly Muslim rebels overthrew the president in 2013. Thousands have died, while hundreds of thousands have fled to neighbouring countries.
The UN took over peacekeeping duties from an African Union force in April 2014. Member states have the sole responsibility to prosecute their troops, but a UN investigative report released this summer showed that countries could take little action.
Sexual abuse allegations have also been made against members of the French peacekeeping mission, which is separate from the UN one trying to stabilise the country.