PARIS (Reuters) - French prosecutors have opened an investigation into two alleged incidents of violence committed by French soldiers in the Central African Republic, the prosecutor’s office said on Monday.
France, which has about 900 troops in the central African country, has been embroiled in allegations of child sex abuse leveled against foreign troops, including French soldiers.
The investigation, opened last week, concerns two separate incidents in the first quarter of 2014. Five soldiers suspected of committing violent acts or witnessing violence without intervening were suspended earlier this month, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said.
“The investigation is just beginning,” the spokeswoman told Reuters. “It will first have to locate and identify the two victims.”
The soldiers involved all come from the 2nd Marine Infantry Regiment based in Auvors, according to the Ministry of Defense.
France’s military deployed to Central African Republic after widespread violence involving Muslim-led rebels and Christian militias erupted in 2013. France expects to scale back the force by the end of this year.
Reporting by Chine Labbe,; editing by Richard Lough, Larry King