Eight Central African Republic officials kidnapped by the country's former rebel coalition have been freed.

Central African Republic has seen a spate of kidnappings recently. The country's sports minister was kidnapped Sunday and is still missing. Last week, a Kurdish U.N. staffer, a French aid worker and her local colleague were briefly held.

Gaston Yendemon, prefect of Nana-Grebizi, said he and seven others were handed over to U.N. peacekeepers Monday, a day after being grabbed by former Seleka fighters. Those released also include a mayor of a town in the country's north.

The country was hit by unprecedented sectarian violence about a year ago when the Christian anti-Balaka militia was formed to combat mostly Muslim Seleka rebels who had taken control of the country. That lawlessness persists.