Gender & SGBVNews

Gabon Government Exonerates Soldiers Accused Of Sexual Assault In Central African Republic

The Gabonese government declares soldiers accused of sexually assaulting five underage girls, innocent.

The Government of Gabon says the five girls with whom some members of the country’s contingent to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) were accused of having sexually assaulted, leading to their expulsion from the country “do not exist”.

Michael Moussa Adamou, Gabonese Minister of Defence told the parliament on Saturday, Oct. 9 that an investigation by the Gabonese authorities had found that the five girls who were supposedly identified as victims of sexual abuse do not exist.

HumAngle reports that various contingents of Gabonese soldiers attached to the MINUSCA have been systematically repatriated following accusations of sexual exploitation and abuse on Central African Republic women and girls. 

The last such contingent was expelled from the country and returned to Gabon more than two weeks ago.

“According to investigations carried out by the Gabonese side, it has been globally discovered that the five girls presented as minors who were supposedly identified and taken charge medically and psychologically according to a MINUSCA communique of Sept. 15, do not exist,” the Gabonese Minister of Defence declared.

Adamou revealed that following the MINUSCA communique, he was obliged to assign two investigative teams to the Central African Republic to fish out the truth about the allegations.

“Our investigations have discovered that the five girls are unknown to the local administrative authorities, non-governmental organizations and religious communities and even the battalion the soldiers were serving with,” the Minister said. 

“To this end, the Gabonese side has decided on the non-existence of the girls since the relevant MINUSCA services could not identify, localize nor interview them.”

He estimated that at this stage, the government of Gabon has good reasons to demand that the truth be established and that compensation be paid to the accused soldiers.

The Gabonese parliamentarians after listening to the explanations from the Minister of Defence called on the government to take good care of the repatriated soldiers and their families especially after the prejudice to which the innocent soldiers have been subjected.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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