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U.S. slaps sanctions on five Central African Republic men tied to violence

Former Seleka soldiers drive to a village, where residents say was attacked and a mosque burnt the night before by anti-Balaka militiamen, a
Former Seleka soldiers drive to a village, where residents say was attacked and a mosque burnt the night before by anti-Balaka militiamen, a

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions on Central African Republic's former president, François Bozizé, and four other men linked to violence and human rights abuses in the country, the White House said on Tuesday.

The country has been racked by sectarian violence for a year after Seleka rebels, who are mostly Muslim, seized power, and "anti-balaka" militias, mainly Christian, fought back.

Thousands have been killed and about a million people displaced. More than 2.5 million people - half the country's population - need humanitarian aid, the White House said.

"Growing attacks perpetrated by both Muslim and Christian militias have brought CAR to a crisis of disastrous proportions," the White House said in a statement.

The sanctions, which freeze assets and ban travel for the individuals named, followed U.N. Security Council sanctions on Friday on Bozizé, who is an "anti-balaka" supporter, Nourredine Adam, a Seleka general and a former minister of public security, and Levy Yakete, an "anti-balaka" leader.

Washington also imposed sanctions on Michel Djotodia, former transitional president of the Central African Republic and leader of the Seleka rebellion, and Abdoulaye Miskine, leader of an ex-Seleka rebel group called the Democratic Front of the Central African Republic People, the White House said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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