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UN probes Indian Army officer`s sexual misconduct

An Indian Army officer is under a probe by the United Nations` mission in Congo on sexual exploitation and abuse charges after he was allegedly found in the company of sex workers in a hotel there.



New Delhi: An Indian Army officer is under a
probe by the United Nations` mission in Congo on sexual
exploitation and abuse charges after he was allegedly found in
the company of sex workers in a hotel there.

The investigation is under way at Congo, where the Indian
troops are based under the UN mission, and the Army
headquarters here has been informed in this regard.

Defence ministry sources said here today that Major R S
Ghumman, belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles battalion,
was being questioned by the probe team.

Visiting sex workers while on serving under the UN flag
is barred as per the peace-keeping rules and code of conduct
prescribed for the Congo mission.

The probe is being handled by the Conduct and Discipline
Unit (CDU) of the UN, the sources said.

"The Army Chief and the Adjutant General`s branch in the
headquarters are aware of the investigations and are fully
informed on the matter," they added.

Ghumman was reportedly found accompanying sex workers on
July 6 while leaving a pub in North Kivu province. He was
there at the pub along with a military observer from Tunisia
and the two left the place with local women, according to
reports reaching here.

The two were noticed with the women by an employee of the
UN`s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and the two
officers were reportedly having an argument with them.

The OIOS employee, identified as Alexandria, promptly
reported the incident to the UN mission`s military police unit
and a complaint was registered with the CDU on charges of
Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

A case for violation of curfew too was registered, as
under the UN rules, officers on duty during the day should
not venture out of their residential facilities at night.

The CDU also sought car log details and the vehicle was
identified as one belonging to the Tunisian officer, who
admitted to being with Ghumman at the hotel that night.

Ghumman is on the verge of completing his tenure in Congo
and is expected back in India soon.

The Indian Army too might initiate disciplinary
proceedings against him based on the CDU`s probe report, the
sources said.

In March 2008, three Indian peace-keepers to UN Mission
in Congo were detained by Pretoria police in South Africa
after a woman complained that they had raped her.

The incident had invited sharp comments from UN Secretary
General Ban-ki-Moon, who had demanded "disciplinary action"
against them for "sexually exploiting local women and children
in Congo."

Following the remarks of the UN chief, Defence Minister A
K Antony had ordered a thorough investigation into the
charges. It was the fourth such "misconduct" by Indian
peace-keepers in Congo that came under a probe since January
that year.

The UN indictment of Indian troops in that episode of
sexual abuse had surfaced in a probe report from the OIOS,
which had revealed "prima-facie evidence" against a number of
Indian peace-keepers previously assigned to one of the units
with the UN Mission in Congo.

UN mission to Congo, which was established in late 1999,
is one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world
and India has a Brigade-size contribution (nearly 4,000
troops) to the multi-national force serving there at present.

PTI

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