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US Imposes Sanctions on Central African Republic Rebel Leader Souleymane

The United States Government has imposed sanctions on the Central African self-proclaimed General Sidiki Abbas Souleymane, who is the leader of Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R).

U.S Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Friday, two days after the United Nations Security Council added Souleymane on its sanction list, announced similar actions describing the latter as a notorious leader of a murderous group.

“Today, the United States took action against the notorious leader of a murderous group that has committed numerous human rights abuses and displaced thousands of people in the Central African Republic (CAR) since 2015,” said Pompeo.

“The United States acted pursuant to Executive Order 13667 and alongside the UN in designating Bi Sidi Souleymane, also known as Sidiki Abbas, who leads the Central African Republic based militia group Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R),” he added.

Washington directly accused 3R of being behind the two specific horrific attacks in the CAR which resulted to the killing a total of 51 civilians and committed other war atrocities.

“On September 27, 2016, 3R raided the village of De Gaulle, killing at least 17 villagers, and raping women and girls. During and immediately after 3R’s raid on De Gaulle, 3R members and Souleymane himself tortured villagers. On May 21, 2019, 3R killed at least 34 unarmed civilians in three villages in northwest CAR’s Ouham-Pendé province, summarily executing adult males,” said Pompeo.

Souleymane is being designated for being responsible for the targeting of women, children, or civilians through the commission of acts of violence, abduction, forced displacement, or attacks on civilian, religious, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge, or through conduct that would constitute a serious abuse or violation of human rights or a violation of international humanitarian law.

3R in March 2020 announced its withdrawal from the Feb 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (PAPR) that officially ended the civil war in the Central African Republic. Washington said it supports the agreement meant to keep peace in the central African nation.

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“The United States supports the February 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic. This Agreement holds the best hope for a future free of violence and instability for Central Africans. This Agreement states that any violation is likely to expose the perpetrators to international sanctions,” said Pompeo.

He concluded that the yesterday’s action signals that the United States will not tolerate those who commit human rights abuses and will prevent such actors from benefiting from the U.S. financial system.

Additionally, the corresponding UN sanctions obligate all UN Member States to impose an asset freeze and travel ban on Souleymane.

3R is a rebel group formed at the end of 2015 to purportedly protect the Peuhl community, bordering Chad, from attacks by Anti-Balaka militia.

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