New York — The United Nations military mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) says it is investigating claims of sex abuse by members of its Tanzanian contingent.
"Initial results suggest that there is evidence of transactional sex and sex with minors," Monusco said in a statement on Friday.
"There are also a number of paternity claims," it added.
However, the government says it has not been notified of the alleged misconduct by its troops in the DRC.
Defence and National Service minister Hussein Mwinyi was quoted by a local newspaper as saying yesterday that he wasn't aware of the latest claims against Tanzania peace keepers in the DRC.
Dr Mwinyi promised to give the government's stand on the claims today after contacting the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF).
The UN children's agency (Unicef) is providing medical care and counselling to the allaged victims, Monusco added.
Tanzania's UN mission in New York has been informed of the accusations, the statement said. The mission did not respond to our requests on Sunday for comment.
"These allegations are being immediately and thoroughly investigated and, if substantiated, prompt action will be taken. The alleged perpetrators have been ordered to remain in their camp during the investigation," Monusco reported.
The statement did not indicate how many Tanzanian personnel are suspected of engaging in sex abuse in Mavivi Village near Beni in the DRC. Monusco said the Tanzanians are members of the Force Intervention Brigade, a 3000-strong UN combat unit operating against rebel groups in eastern DRC.
Tanzania contributes a total of 2324 soldiers, police and military experts to UN peacekeeping operations in half-a-dozen countries. About half are assigned to the DRC, with a large number of Tanzanians also serving as peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region.
The allegations against the Tanzanians in the DRC are the latest in a series of sex-abuse scandals involving UN peacekeeping forces in Africa.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has promised to put an end to the attacks on civilians, which are a source of great embarrassment to an organisation that proclaims a commitment to women's rights and that regularly denounces human rights violations.