Central African Republic’s justice ministry has announced it will take legal action against the French soldiers accused of repeatedly raping young boys in exchange for food in refugee camps in the country.
"Legal action will be pursued ... These are still very serious acts," said Justice Minister Aristide Sokambi on Wednesday, insisting the case is against specific individuals who happen to be French, not against France as a country.
French troops were present at the Central African Republic in December 2013. The abused children say they were asked to perform sexual acts – the youngest of whom is only nine years old - in exchange for food between December 2013 and June 2014.
According to Reuters, Paris prosecutors said on Thursday “a judicial investigation targeting unnamed people had been opened into alleged child sex abuse by French soldiers in the Central African Republic”.
A preliminary investigation was opened last July based on the U.N report detailing the alleged abuse at a centre for displaced people at M'Poko airport in the capital Bangui.