The United Nations says it is investigating new allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic, including against minors.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed the new investigation Monday. He also announced the planned repatriation of peacekeepers from Congo and the Republic of Congo, whose soldiers allegedly were involved in previous incidents of sexual abuse and exploitation.

The United Nations has been unable to explain why so many rapes and other sexual abuse by peacekeepers have been alleged in Central African Republic, which has been gripped by deadly violence between Christians and Muslims since late 2013.

Thousands of peacekeepers from the United Nations, African Union and Europe have been deployed since then to help restore peace to the country.