New York - A UN peacekeeping contingent serving in the Central African Republic is suspected of sexually abusing street children in Bangui, a UN spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The UN mission in Bangui has notified the troop-contributing country of the allegations and has opened an investigation, said Stephane Dujarric.
The country of origin was not identified, but a UN official said it was an African contingent.
"If the allegations are substantiated, this would constitute a grave violation of UN principles and of the code of conduct of peacekeepers," said Dujarric.
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The "member-state will be requested to take swift and appropriate punitive action," he added.
It was the third case of alleged child sexual abuse to have surfaced in recent months involving UN troops.
The UN MINUSCA force has asked Morocco to open a formal investigation following allegations that one of its soldiers raped a girl under the age of 16.
A UN report by rights investigators last year detailed testimony from children in the Central African Republic who said they were sexually abused by French troops and soldiers from Chad and Equatorial Guinea.
France announced last month that 14 soldiers were facing possible charges in the case that only came to light when The Guardian newspaper reported it in April.