Martin Plaut / BBC News – 2008-07-06 22:06:50
LONDON (July 6, 2008) — Three Indian army officers have been let off with a warning over allegations of gold trafficking while they were UN peacekeepers in the DR Congo.
The allegations, first revealed by the BBC, were part of a wider investigation carried out by the UN.
A UN report said there was evidence that Indian troops in eastern Congo had traded gold and drugs with a militia involved in the Rwandan genocide.
The UN decided there was evidence for only one minor charge.
Some Indian soldiers were alleged to have traded gold with the militia, bought drugs from them and even flown a UN helicopter into the Virunga National Park, where they exchanged ammunition for ivory.
An accusation that three Indian officers had illegally detained and assaulted a Congolese trader for selling them fake gold dust was the only charge the UN decided had sufficient evidence.
Those soldiers have been let off with a warning.
Critics of the UN will argue that this is exactly what they expected and proves that allegations, no matter how serious, seldom result in the disciplining of the troops under its command.
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