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SEX SAGA – Ghanaian Police complete investigating UNMISS scandal

The Director of the Ghanaian Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau, COP Kofi Boakye (Photo credit: Graphics Online)

By David Mono Danga

The Ghana Police Service said it has completed preliminary investigations into the alleged sex abuse perpetrated by some Ghanaian police peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

In February this year UNMISS recalled Forty-six personnel of the Ghanaian police unit back to Juba from its Protection of Civilians (POC) site in Wau after an investigation was launched into a complaint that members of the unit were having sexual relations with vulnerable women living at the camp.

According to reports by Graphics Online News Agency availed to Juba Monitor yesterday, Inspector General of Police, David Asante Apeatu subsequently set up a committee to investigate the matter.

However, according to the Director of the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau, COP Kofi Boakye, the Police Service is awaiting the United Nations to complete investigations on the matter before they brief Ghanaians on the investigations.

“The Inspector General of Police sent a high powered delegation to South Sudan. They completed their investigation and the Police are awaiting the investigation from UN because they have to compare notes on the various investigations to have a comprehensive report. After that is done, I know the Inspector General of Police will not hesitate to inform you of the results, but meanwhile, the policemen are still in South Sudan.”

Some members of a Ghanaian police unit working with the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan were investigated for breaching the UN’s sexual exploitation and abuse rules. The unit in question had also been recalled earlier this year.

The investigation into the conduct of the officers began after reports emerged that they were having transactional sex with women living in the POC camps in Wau with gifts or favours given in exchange for the encounters.

Mr. Derry, who spoke to journalists on the sidelines of a wreath-laying ceremony held for members of the armed forces who lost their lives in the February 28 crossroad shooting, said he was stricken by reports of the alleged sexual misconduct by the Ghanaian soldiers.

“As the Minister of Interior, the allegation hit me hard… It is still under investigation, and we will be the first to bring to book any Ghanaian we find who has breached the rules, and the UN allowing us to investigate the matter independently shows that they believe we are going to contribute constructively to it,” he added.

The UN mission had said there were no indications that this behavior is more widespread within the Mission across the country. However, in April, four teenagers were reportedly caught trying to enter the United Nations base in Aweil through its perimeter fence.

The report by ReliefWeb alleged that one of the teenaged girls had been touched inappropriately by a member of the Nepalese contingent in exchange for money. There was no allegation made of rape.

UNMISS deployed a Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Immediate Response Team (IRT) to Aweil to gather information and preserve evidence prior to the launch of an investigation by the Troop Contributing Countries concerned.

The matter has also been reported to the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), an agency that is independent from UNMISS.

The United Nations has six civilian protection sites across the country, housing some 204,501 people.

UNMISS comprises over 17,000 peacekeeping personnel including 13,000 soldiers and 1500 police officers.

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