A French solider has been charged with sexually abusing a minor after a video surfaced of him touching two very young girls at a swimming pool in Burkina Faso, in western Africa.
Two soldiers were arrested on Thursday a few days after they had left a GoPro portable camera at the home of one of the alleged victims, the Guardian reported. The camera contained footage of the soldier sexually abusing the two little girls, ages 3 and 5.
After being interrogated in the capital, Ouagadougou, the two soldiers were brought back to France. The 38-year-old special forces soldier was charged on Friday with sexually abusing a minor and for recording images of a pornographic nature involving a minor. He had been suspended and repatriated to France earlier in the week. The 36-year-old soldier who accompanied him was released without charge, allAfrica reported.
The soldiers had met the two little girls at a swimming pool, and the mother of the younger victim said she found the two men so charming that she invited them to her house for coffee, Agence France-Presse reported. When the soldiers left her house they forgot their GoPro, and once the mother found the "fairly long" film containing the abuse footage, she complained to the French embassy.
"What happened is horrible," Ben Ouédraogo, the father of one of the alleged victims, told Agence France-Press. "It's like something out of a film ... But there's a point when I have to stand up and fight for these children, for my daughter, to keep their honour because it's disgusting, disgusting."
As part of a French anti-terrorism operation covering five regional African countries, there are currently about 220 French soldiers stationed in Burkina Faso, according to the Guardian. This is not France’s first problem with soldiers sexually abusing minors; in April, the Guardian was given an internal report saying French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic had raped homeless young boys.