On August 2nd, gunfire erupted in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. On one side of the violence: United Nations peacekeepers sent to the Central African Republic after the 2013 collapse of the government. On the other: a group of armed men. U.N. officers had been dispatched to a Muslim enclave in Bangui to apprehend a criminal suspect. But in the chaos of the gunfight—which claimed the lives of two innocent bystanders and one peacekeeper, and injured nine officers—a 12-year-old girl was allegedly raped. The perpetrator: a U.N. police officer. One of the very men sent there to protect the girl from violence.
According to a press release from Amnesty International, sometime around 2 a.m., a man wearing U.N. peacekeeping garb dragged the young girl from her hiding place in the bathroom of her home, into a courtyard, separating her from her family. “When she returned from the back of the courtyard, she cried ‘mama’ and fainted,” the girl’s sister told Amnesty International. Interviews with witnesses and the results of a medical examination both support the young victim’s account, according to the press release.
And the number of allegations have indeed dropped since the agency overhauled it’s processes, despite the fact that the number of peacekeepers has continued to climb, according to a 2015 policy brief from the Stimson Center, an independent, public policy non-profit.
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