French soldiers suspended for child abuse in Burkina Faso

Two French soldiers suspended after allegations of their involvement in sexual assaults against young children in Burkina Faso

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Two French soldiers were suspended from military service because of allegations that they sexually assaulted children in Burkina Faso, as announced by the French Ministry of Defence.

A French prosecutor has opened a preliminary investigation into these allegations.

A spokesman for the French military said the allegations were raised days ago, and was characterised by a “degree of seriousness” enough to stop the soldiers immediately.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the military "will not tolerate" the offenders if case allegations are confirmed.

"The soldiers who were on a mission in Burkina Faso, are suspected of committing acts of a sexual nature with two children," the ministry said in an official statement.

Reports said one of the victims is a five year old girl, which was confirmed afterher father found a camera containing photos of his daughter being sexually assaulted.

"There were two soldiers filming a third soldier assaulting the young girl" a French police officer told the AFP.

The officer added that the parents of the girl are friends of the two soldiers who are suspected of committing the crime.

After he found the camera at the scene of the crime, the father reported to the French Embassy in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

A team of French military police responsible for investigations into the private affairs of soldiers involved in operations outside France are scheduled to arrive in Paris on Wednesday from Niger to participate in the investigation with the military police in Burkina Faso, according to a judicial source.

There are about 220 French soldiers stationed in Burkina Faso as part of the French counter-terrorism operation.

This programme includes five countries stretching from Mali to Chad.

Fourteen French soldiers are already subject to an investigation after allegations were raised earlier this year that they had sexually assaulted children in the Central African Republic.

French officials insist there is no relationship between the cases of children in Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic.

TRTWorld and agencies