UN troops in Liberia accused over assault on teen

The United Nations has launched an investigation into allegations that two military personnel were involved in a teenage boy being beaten up in northern Liberia, it said in a statement.

The incident is alleged to have taken place on December 4 in Bong County, according to the statement issued late Thursday by UNMIL, the UN's peacekeeping mission in Liberia.

"The alleged misconduct involved the beating of a teenage boy," said Waldemar Vrey, UNMIL's officer-in-charge, adding that the accusations came to light on Tuesday.

"The mission takes such allegations extremely seriously and dispatched yesterday a preliminary fact-finding team, led by the force Provost Marshall — the highest ranking member of the military police.

"The team is tasked with preserving evidence in the event a full investigation is warranted."

Vrey gave no details on the incident but said UNMIL had arranged "on humanitarian grounds" to have the boy moved to JFK Hospital in Monrovia, the largest in the country.

"While the facts in this case are being established, our thoughts are with the boy, whose condition remains moderately serious, and his family," he added.

He called for "all parties to remain calm and cooperate with those establishing the facts" in Bong, which borders Guinea.

A 15,000-strong UNMIL force was set up in 2003 to help Liberia transition to peace after devastating back-to-back civil wars spanning 14 years.

It has been gradually handing its duties back to the government and will have just 1,240 troops and 600 police on the ground when Liberia assumes full responsibility for its own security in June.

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