UN peacekeepers accused of death, rape in African mission

United Nations: Amnesty International is accusing UN peacekeepers of indiscriminately killing a 16-year-old boy and his father and raping a 12-year-old girl in separate incidents in Central African Republic.

A statement today said the two incidents on August 2 and 3 occurred as the peacekeepers were carrying out an operation in the capital, Bangui.

Amnesty International said a spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping mission told the human rights organisation that it has opened an internal investigation into the alleged rape and killings. The spokesperson also told the group that the Bangui operation was carried out by police peacekeepers from Rwanda and Cameroon.

UN peacekeepers have been in the country since September to try to calm unprecedented, deadly violence between Christians and Muslims.

The girl had been hiding in a bathroom when a man wearing a UN peacekeeping helmet and vest "took her outside and raped her behind a truck," the group's statement said.

The next day, after armed clashes with residents had killed a soldier from Cameroon and injured several others, peacekeepers to the area and "began shooting indiscriminately in the street where the killings had taken place," the statement said.

Amnesty International said resident Balla Hadji, 61, and his son Souleimane Hadji, 16, were shot and killed outside their home.

Spokesmen for the UN peacekeeping office were in a meeting about the Amnesty International statement and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The UN has been under international scrutiny over its handling of allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic last year, and an independent panel is now looking into that case.

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