United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he forced the UN peacekeeping chief in Central African Republic to quit over the mission’s response to sexual violence and misconduct allegations against its soldiers.
Ban said he accepted the resignation of Babacar Gaye of Senegal and has ordered a special session of the UN Security Council on Thursday to discuss sexual abuse accusations.
Gaye “tendered his resignation at my request,” Ban told reporters in New York on Wednesday. “I wanted to show a strong example to the international community.”
Th move comes a day after Amnesty International accused UN peacekeepers in Bangui, the Central African Republic’s capital, of raping a 12-year-old girl and killing a 16-year-old boy and his father this month, citing interviews with 15 witnesses.
“I cannot put into words how anguished and angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over the years of sex abuse and exploitation by UN forces,” Ban said. “I will not tolerate people to replace trust with fear.”
Ban has ordered an external probe into how the UN handled allegations that troops from France, Chad and Equatorial Guinea sexually assaulted minors in the Central African Republic multiple times from December 2013 to June 2014.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said there were delays in reporting the claims and the French prosecutor’s office announced in April that it had opened an investigation into the case.
The Central African Republic plunged into crisis after mainly Muslim militias overthrew Christian President Francois Bozize in March 2013, sparking reprisal attacks by Christian fighters. Thousands of people have died in the violence.
Ban appointed Gaye as head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic, or Minusca, in July 2014, and he previously served as the chief of the UN peacebuilding office in the country.