Gabonese Troops Repatriated Over Sexual Abuse Offences May Return To Central African Republic

Despite the UN’s MONUSCO sending the Gabonese soldiers back home after evidence of sexual misconduct was said to have been found, the CAR leader may be opening the door for their return.

Gabon and the Central African Republic are working on a military protocol to enable Gabon to send another military contingent to CAR after 450 of its troops attached to the UN peacekeeping forces in the country were repatriated in Sept. 2021 on accusations of sexual abuse.

“We have had exchanges on the next military protocol accord between the Central African Republic and Gabon,” President Faustin Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic said at the end of a meeting with his Gabonese colleague President Ali Bongo Ondimba yesterday, Wednesday, August 10, 2022.

When asked about the previous sexual misconduct, President Touaderasaid “Gabonese Blue Helmets rendered eminent services to the people of the Central African Republic for 25 years. We appreciate all the work these Gabonese Blue Helmets did so that peace can return today. The Central African Republic people very much appreciate and regret the departure of the Gabonese contingent”.

The Gabonese soldiers served with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

“Following several cases of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse being handled, the United Nations has decided today to withdraw the Gabonese Blue Helmets from MINUSCA”, the Gabonese Defense Minister declared in a communique on September 21, 2021.

President Touadera, who is on a working and friendly visit to Gabon yesterday and today, Thursday, August 11, 2022, said that the investigation opened to throw light on the accusations weighing on the Gabonese peacekeeping forces is being carried out by the United Nations and not the Central African Republic.

The Gabonese soldiers were accused of being implicated in at least four cases of sexual abuse. About one year afterwards, the conclusions of the investigations have not yet been made public.

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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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