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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
UN probes child prostitute ring
UN peacekeeper and a Congolese soldier
Some 17,000 UN troops are serving in DR Congo
The United Nations is investigating allegations that some of its peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have used child prostitutes.

It said there were reports that a child prostitution ring was operating in the east, close to a large concentration of UN troops and government soldiers.

A UN probe last year found that peacekeepers in DR Congo had sexually abused girls as young as 13.

Afterwards it banned its troops from having sex with locals.

The investigation revealed that UN peacekeepers had used food and money to pay girls to have sex with them.

There are some 17,000 peacekeepers serving with the UN mission in DR Congo (Monuc).

It is the world's largest peacekeeping contingent charged with overseeing last month's elections, the results of which are due by this weekend.

In the latest allegations from South Kivu province, the girls involved are reported to have said that most of their clients were government troops and civilians, but that they also included peacekeepers.

"Monuc takes these allegations very seriously and has expressed extreme shock at the testimonies of the victims of this illegal activity," it said in a statement.




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