Central African officials kidnapped by former Muslim rebels have been freed, handed over to UN

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.