Several hostages, including a Polish priest, have been released after being held by rebels in Central African Republic.

Cameroon said in a statement that special forces secured the release of 15 Cameroonians and the priest.

But the rebels, known as the Democratic Front of the Central African People, said they released the hostages Wednesday as a gesture of goodwill in their efforts to win the freedom of their leader, who is jailed in Cameroon. They said 10 Central Africans were also freed. The group said it's ending its armed fight but will continue to press the transitional government for their leader's release.

The rebels were once linked with Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim armed groups that toppled the president last year. Central African Republic then sank into sectarian violence.