A UN official has acknowledged that some United Nations peacekeepers in Mozambique had paid for sex with children.
Behrooz Sadry, deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Mozambique, who led an investigation over allegations made by relief workers, told a news conference Feb. 25 that some of the offenders had been sent back to their countries. He declined to specify nationalities.
Mr. Sadry said his team visited five cities with the greatest concentration of UN 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,'' he said.
About 6,000 peacekeepers arrived in 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 peacekeeper misconduct mainly involved the 1,000-member Italian battalion. Italy denied the accusations, but movements of its troops were restricted. Bangladesh, Botswana, Uruguay, and Zambia also contribute to the force.