UN suspends some peacekeepers in Congo, denounces sexual abuse

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The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo has suspended some of its peacekeepers in response to reports of serious misconduct, it said in a statement, adding that it had zero tolerance for “sexual exploitation and abuse”.

It did not say how many peacekeepers were suspended or give details of the accusations against them.

The mission, known as MONUSCO, has faced previous accusations of sexual abuse which the United Nations has vowed to crack down on.

“Precautionary measures have already been initiated in line with the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse and other forms of misconduct,” said the statement released late on Wednesday.

The measures include suspension from duty and confinement to quarters pending an investigation, it said.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, which was initially established during a civil war that lasted from 1998-2003, has some 17,000 personnel deployed in the east of the country where various militias and rebel groups continue to fight.