- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

PARIS (AP) - French judicial authorities have launched an investigation into new U.N. sexual abuse allegations targeting French troops in the Central African Republic.

The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary probe into possible “sexual assaults” involving French troops in the central town of Dekoa from 2013-2015, a French judicial official said Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive case, said the U.N. allegations deal with “sexual abuse and exploitation that could involve French troops with the Sangaris military force” operated by France in CAR.

The new investigation follows allegations passed on by the U.N. to the French defense ministry, which conveyed them to French judicial authorities last week.

The preliminary probe was opened Friday and is carried out on the ground by a special unit of the French military police in charge of investigating possible offenses or crimes perpetrated by French troops based abroad.

The official said the U.N. allegations don’t mention how many French troops may be involved or how many potential victims were affected or whether the victims were minors or adults.

The official said the new probe is not related to allegations by a U.S.-based group claiming three girls told U.N. staff they were tied up, undressed and forced to have sex with a dog by a French military commander in 2014.

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