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U.N. troops used child prostitutes

Published Oct. 6, 2005

A United Nations official said Friday that some of U.N. peacekeeping troops in Mozambique paid for sex with children.

Behrooz Sadry, a representative of the U.N. secretary-general in Mozambique, led an investigation into allegations by relief workers. He said some of the offenders had been repatriated but declined to specify nationalities.

Sadry's team visited five cities with the greatest concentration of U.N. troops, known by the acronym ONUMOZ.

"The investigating team found that the patronage of prostitutes, among them minors, by some ONUMOZ personnel occurred despite existing codes of discipline and the explicit instructions given to many members of ONUMOZ to avoid all sexual liaison with Mozambican women," Sadry said.

About 6,000 peacekeepers arrived in the southern African nation of Mozambique, listed by the World Bank as the world's poorest country, after the government and rebels signed a peace agreement in 1992.

Initial allegations of U.N. troops paying for sex with children aged between 12 and 14 mainly involved the 1,000-member Italian battalion. Italy denied the accusations when they first surfaced last month, but movements of its troops were restricted.