South Sudan Demands Role as UN Probes Peacekeeper Sex Claims

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(Bloomberg) -- South Sudan’s government demanded a role in a United Nations investigation into allegations a peacekeeping police unit sexually exploited civilians it was charged with protecting during the four-year civil war.

The local UN mission should “adhere to a joint independent investigation and not smuggle out the culprits,” Baak Valentino Wol, undersecretary at the Foreign Ministry, told reporters Friday in the capital, Juba.

The UN said Feb. 24 it had recalled 46 Ghanaian police officers serving in the northwest after allegations of “transactional sex” and a probe is underway. UN mission spokeswoman Francesca Mold said Friday the allegations weren’t criminal but related to a possible breach of UN conduct -- something always investigated by a UN oversight body, not individual governments.

The conflict in the East African country has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced 4 million people from their homes since December 2013, with aid agencies warning that famine quelled last year could return. A UN human-rights commission last month said more than 40 senior South Sudan army officials may bear responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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