United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic are facing allegations of commiting sexual abuses in 13 cases involving nine children as young as 11, an official said on Thursday.
The 12,000-strong MINUSCA force which nearly a year ago replaced an African Union mission in the country has been plagued with a series of allegations of rape and other misconduct by its troops.
"The sharp rise in cases reported in the last three months is of concern," said Diane Corner, the deputy chief at the MINUSCA mission.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has denounced sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers as a "cancer in our system" and has vowed to criticise countries that fail to take action.
In June, Ban appointed a review panel led by former Canadian Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps to investigate how the UN dealt with separate allegations that French and African troops sexually abused children in the Central African Republic starting in late 2013.