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Army to probe rape claim against Blue Helmets in South Sudan

- Post Report, Kathmandu
UN had asked troops contributing country to fully probe case and, where applicable, pursue criminal prosecution

Apr 25, 2018-The Nepal Army has formed a board of inquiry to investigate the claim of rape against Nepali UN Peacekeepers in South Sudan. A few troopers from the Blue Helmets allegedly raped two minors at their duty stations.

Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric, in his press briefing on Tuesday, confirmed that UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) received an allegation of sexual abuse involving unidentified members of the Nepali contingent.

Dujarric said the UN had asked the troops contributing country to fully probe the case, and where applicable, pursue criminal prosecution under the law of the contributing country.

Brigadier General Gokul Bhandari, spokesperson for Nepal Army, told the Post, “A board of inquiry comprising our officials in South Sudan is investigating the case of alleged rape that took place on April 13.”

He denied giving details on how many troops face rape charge. “The report, after fair investigation, will come out soon.” There are 1,747 Nepali Blue Helmets deployed in South Sudan to help contain the civil war.

Nepal has been contributing to the UN peacekeeping mission since 1958. Currently, 4,832 troops are on duty in 12 different war-affected countries, making it the sixth largest force in the peacekeeping mission.

In October 2010, Nepali peacekeepers were blamed for a devastating cholera outbreak in Haiti. The epidemic killed nearly 9,000 people. The outbreak later became an agenda in the presidential elections for politicians to rake in votes by cashing in local outrage against the UN peacekeepers.

Although the UN dismissed the allegations, a battalion of 715 Nepali soldiers deployed in the Caribbean country was sent home following the incident.

Published: 25-04-2018 08:00

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