Thursday, August 14, 2008

Indian peacekeepers in Congo have been accused of child abuse

A sad day for India when this happens-
After a series of charges ranging from gold smuggling to illegal detention of local citizens to making statements in support of rebel groups, Indian peacekeepers in Congo have been accused of child abuse by an internal UN investigation.

The report, which also contains observations by investigators who have interviewed witnesses, is likely to be made public by the UN OIOS on Wednesday. Sources said that a copy of the report was received by the MEA on Tuesday.

As reported by The Indian Express, a UN investigation had also found that Indian peacekeepers in Congo illegally detained, physically assaulted and “sexually propositioned” a local gold trader who had allegedly sold them counterfeit gold dust.

The three Army personnel identified as “JCO Deepak Singh Nayal , Sergeant Suresh Pandurang Bodhak and Lt Col Talum Duby” were also found guilty by an Army court of inquiry earlier this year. The Indian contingent has been charged with a series of allegations, like gun running and having connections with local militia, that have all been dismissed as a “malicious media campaign” by the Army.

Only one question -how could the top operational commanders remain unaware of all this?
Hard to believe that they were. Or did the usual 'work ethic' of UN peacekeepers made them callous?