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France France and the world Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza Laurent Fabius

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Fabius visits Central African Republic as miltiary child abuse inquiry continues

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CAR President Catherine Samba-Panza reviews troops earlier this year AFP

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius was to visit the Central African Republic (CAR) Monday before travelling to Ethiopia for A UN conference on development finance. His trip comes amid a scandal over alleged child abuse by French soldiers in the CAR.


Fabius's fifth visit to the CAR's capital Bangui in less than two years was planned to show support for President Catherine Samba-Panza, the French governmetn said. 

Fabius was also to meet Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun to sign a comprehensive budgetary aid agreement worth eight million euros, a significant portion of which will be used to finance election preparations.

Presidential and parliamentary polls are to be held in October and November respectively.

But his visit comes at a time when French peacekeepers are facing accusations of of child sex abuse.

Last week French investigators arrived in CAR to question children who say they were sexually abused.

They allege that more than a dozen French soldiers, among troops dispatched to the CAR to combat violence that followed a 2013 coup, abused them in exchange for food.

France's defence ministry was informed of the accusations in July last year when it received a leaked report compiled by United Nations officials on the ground.

But the allegations only became public in April when The Guardian newspaper broke the story.

The French government denies a cover-up.