UN Security Council sanctions Central African Republic ex-president and 2 rebel leaders

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on the Central African Republic's former president Francois Bozize and two rebel leaders for undermining peace and fueling violence in the conflict-torn country.

They are the first individuals to be sanctioned under a Security Council resolution adopted in January.

An alliance of Muslim rebel groups known as the Seleka overthrew Bozize in March 2013 and became despised by Christians after going on looting sprees, raping and killing civilians at random. An armed Christian movement known as the anti-Balaka, aided by Bozize loyalists, began retaliating, plunging the country into sectarian violence.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power on Saturday welcomed the unanimous decision by the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions to impose an asset freeze and travel ban on Bozize, Seleka leader Nourredine Adam and anti-Balaka political coordinator Levy Yakete.