A Nigerian police officer who served as a United Nations peacekeeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been sent home and barred from peacekeeping after an investigation found he had sexually exploited a woman, a U.N. spokesperson said on Tuesday, October 2.
The allegations against the Nigerian national date back to February and March 2017, but the woman later withdrew her complaint to the Monusco mission.
U.N. investigators “found that the allegation of sexual exploitation was substantiated and that the victim had been paid off by the alleged subject to withdraw her complaint,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
The police officer, who had since moved on to serve in the U.N. mission in South Sudan, Unmiss, was recently sent home and U.N. officials have asked Nigeria to report on any disciplinary or legal action taken against him.
U.N. peacekeeping missions are facing a damaging wave of allegations of sex abuse and of failing to come to the aid of civilians caught up in violence, notably in the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
On September 6, a South Sudan military court found 10 soldiers guilty of raping five foreign aid workers and murdering a local journalist during fighting in Juba.
Under U.N. rules, it is up to the troop- or police-contributing country to take action against their nationals in cases of misconduct in peacekeeping missions.
That has led to complaints that peacekeepers have not been held accountable in their countries for sexual abuse and exploitation of civilians while serving under the U.N. flag.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has vowed to toughen the response to allegations of misconduct by the peacekeepers.
Last month, the Security Council adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution aimed at toughening the response to misconduct, including measures such as repatriating peacekeepers and withholding U.N. payments to soldiers involved.
The United Nations has 96,000 peacekeepers serving in 14 missions worldwide.
With reporting from AFP