Central African Republic: the grim backdrop to French troops childsex scandal

Following the revelation in late April that a UN investigation had collected convincing evidence that French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) had sexually abused boys aged as young as nine, including acts of rape, the French authorities feigned to be unaware of the alleged events, despite being alerted at least eight months earlier. In this investigation by Mediapart, we present the confidential UN report in full, and hear from aid workers and members of inter-governmental organizations active in the strife-torn country how child abuse cases are in fact more widespread, why they believe there was a deliberate cover up of the UN evidence, and the tales of wider scandals involving members of the foreign community in CAR, a country that has become anything but a sovereign state. Thomas Cantaloube in Bangui and Célhia de Lavarène in New York report.

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Since the 1970s, the Central African Republic (CAR), a former French colony which gained its independence in 1960, has been a state in freefall, ruled by despots who succeeded each other in successive coups d’Etat and often with the benediction of Paris.