Bangladesh army officers ejected from the UN mission over sex scam

Bangladeshi Troops at AIDS Awareness program. Source UNAMID

Dhaka (GDC) – Five Bangladeshi peacekeepers of the United Nations mission in Liberia were sent back home on March 1 after they were embroiled in a sex scandal.

A source confirmed that the process of court-martialling the five—all members of Bangladesh Army—was on.

The Bangladesh Army has launched an investigation into allegations of rape of a Rohingya girl by troops at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. Rohingya takes matter in their hands after Bangladeshi troop sexually assaulted a Rohingya woman.

The accused are Sepoy Mostafiz, Sepoy Aminul, Sergeant Litu, Warrant Officer Kashem and another army officer. They were working for the UN mission’s Sakalpia camp in Liberia.

The source said the five paid for having sex with local women and took pictures of sexual acts. They later went to a local photo studio to print the pictures for $25 (Liberian).

The photo shop later demanded $600 for the prints, prompting the five to get back to the camp without the photos. The shop owner later leaked the incident.

Such scandal by Bangladeshi army personnel working for UN missions is not new. Last year four army members working in Sudan under the UN peacekeeping mission were sent back home on charges of sexual torture.

London newspaper The Telegraph carried a report on January 3 on the basis of spot interview with the 20 minor children in South Sudan who were victims of the incidents in 2005.

A UN spokesman admitted the incident, while the Sudanese government described it as “extremely embarrassing”. Thirteen other Bangladeshi peacekeepers were also interrogated.

In the wake of an alarming rise in the incidents of sexual torture and rape in the peacekeeping missions in recent times a new code of conduct was formulated in April last year for the peacekeepers.

Bangladesh has earned international applause for its peacekeeping role in different UN missions, but sexual assault and a large numbers of HIV positive soldiers make it impossible for Bangladesh Army to maintain dignified missions in Africa.

Bangladesh joined the UN mission in Liberia on September 19, 2003.

Asked to comment on the incident, spokesman for the Army Headquarters Lt Col Anisur Rahman said he was not aware of the matter.

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