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Child sex abuse: CAR, French leaders hail judicial co-operation

27 May 2015, 13:36

Paris - France and Central African Republic justice authorities are co-operating in ongoing investigations, the leaders of the two countries said on Wednesday, amid allegations that French soldiers sexually assaulted children while stationed in CAR.

"The heads of state have found a perfect co-operation between the justice [authorities] of the two countries in the conduct of the ongoing investigations," the leaders said in statement issued by the Elysee Palace.

Also Read: Zanzibar police beef up fight against abuse of women

Earlier in May, the Paris prosecutor opened a judicial inquiry into the sexual assault case. This built upon a preliminary investigation by French officials, begun in July 2014, after they saw a UN report outlining the allegations, made by four boys aged between 9 and 13.

Financial support

When opening the judicial inquiry, the prosecutor said the "hierarchy" of the UN had made it difficult to obtain information about the case. The French troops had been stationed in Bangui as part of a peacekeeping mission.

CAR's interim president, Catherina Samba Panza, met with French President Francois Hollande after a conference in Brussels on Tuesday aimed at drumming up financial support for the conflict-torn country.

During the conference, European countries committed $414m for humanitarian and budget support. Samba-Panza hailed the aid as CAR gears up for critical elections in 2015, for which she has said she will not run.

CAR has suffered sectarian violence since Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March 2013. Thousands of people have been killed and about 1 million displaced due to the conflict.



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