Eleven Nigerian police officers who were part of a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been suspended from the Nigerian police force in the course of investigations into the sexual abuse of Congolese women and girls. Nigeria withdrew all 120 of its peacekeepers in Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital, in mid-September when the UN began investigating the allegations. The decision to withdraw was accepted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who cited “a policy of zero tolerance regarding sexual exploitation and abuse…by peacekeeping personnel.”
The facts of the cases that led to the suspensions have not been released, according to the Associated Press, but rapes, the soliciting of prostitutes, and pedophilia have been widely reported since the beginning of 2004, with girls and women of all ages being abused by both peacekeepers and civilians. In August 2005, the UN began an investigation of the allegations of sex abuse suffered by Congolese women and girls, according to the BBC, including those against the Nigerian policemen.