UNITED NATIONS - The UN peacekeeping department said it temporarily suspended the contracts of two Russian air transportation firms active in Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo after several staff were charged with sexual abuse of local residents.
The sexual abuse was "extremely serious, very, very bad stuff," a source familiar with the decision of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He did not offer any specific details.
DPKO spokesman Kieran Dwyer confirmed that some allegations of severe sexual misconduct against several employees of UTair Aviation and Nefteyugansk United Airline, which provide airplane and helicopter services for U.N. missions in Sudan's western Darfur region and in Congo, were found to be true.
"We are fully aware of the incident you are referring to and in this case the UN has taken appropriate action," Dwyer said in a statement to Reuters.