December 22, 2015 / 5:05 PM / 4 years ago

Two more hit with U.N. sanctions for Central African Republic violence

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Security Council has added two more people to a United Nations blacklist for attempting to undermine the transitional government of the Central African Republic and inciting violence against Muslims in the conflict-torn nation.

According to an announcement dated Dec. 17, the council’s Central African Republic (CAR) sanctions committee added Haroun Gaye and Eugene Barret Ngaikosset and they are now subject to an international travel ban and assets freeze.

The former French colony descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the majority Christian nation, triggering reprisals by “anti-balaka” Christian militias who drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition.

The sanctions committee said on its website that Gaye, leader of an armed group in Bangui’s PK5 district, was listed due to his links to acts “involving sexual violence, targeting of civilians, ethnic- or religious-based attacks, attacks on schools and hospitals, and abduction and forced displacement.”

It said he has repeatedly supported anti-balaka elements to foment chaos in PK5, where thousands of Muslims are surrounded by Christian militias, and that he was involved in an attempted coup backed by supporters of former President Francois Bozize aimed at toppling the transitional government.

The committee said Gaye met in October with Ngaikosset, a “member of a marginalized anti-balaka group” and the other individual blacklisted last week, to plan an attack on Bangui.

In May 2014, the committee imposed its first targeted sanctions by blacklisting former Bozize and two other men.

In August, the council blacklisted the Belgian branch of CAR’s diamond trading company and three more people linked to the conflict. There are now seven people and one entity blacklisted over the war.

Thousands have died and around one in five Central Africans has fled violence. Fighting that began as clashes between rival militias has degenerated into a conflict between Christians and Muslims.

The country is rich in diamonds, uranium, gold, oil and other assets which are coveted by the rival factions as well as by foreign interests.

Separately, the council’s Panel of Experts that monitors compliance with the CAR sanctions said in its latest report that prospects for peace “remain remote.”

It said diamond-buying houses have not taken action to reduce the risk of financing ex-Seleka elements while anti-balaka groups still engage in “taxation and racketeering”, are present at several diamond mining sites and have obtained mining licenses.

Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Alistair Bell

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