US imposes sanctions on Central African Republic militia leader


The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on the leader of a Central African Republic-based militia group, the Treasury Department said, accusing the leader, Sidiki Abass, of human rights abuse, including directly participating in torture.

The Treasury Department in a statement said it had blacklisted Abass, leader of the Central African Republic-based militia group Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation, or 3R, which it said “has killed, tortured, raped, or displaced thousands of people since 2015.”

The US sanctions come after the United Nations Security Council Central African Republic sanctions committee imposed sanctions on the militia leader on Wednesday.

Friday’s action freezes any of Abass’ US assets and generally bars Americans from dealing with him, in addition to the UN sanctions that obligate member states to impose an asset freeze and travel ban, the Treasury said.

“Today’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 US financial system,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a separate statement.

In February 2019, the 3R signed a peace deal in Central African Republic, but it has violated the agreement and remains a threat to the peace, stability and security of the country, the Security Council committee said.

The United States supports the agreement, Pompeo said, adding that it holds the “best hope for a future free of violence and instability for Central Africans.”

The UN committee said the 3R in 2019 killed 34 unarmed civilians in three villages and said that Abass “openly confirmed to a UN Entity that he had ordered 3R elements to the villages on the date of the attacks, but did not admit to giving the orders for 3R to kill.”