The United States has taken action against the notorious leader of a murderous group in the Central African Republic (CAR). The group has committed numerous human rights abuses and displaced thousands of people since 2015.
The United States acted pursuant to Executive Order 13667 together with the UN and designated Bi Sidi Souleymane. The rebel leader is also known as Sidiki Abbas. His militia group, Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R), on September 27, 2016, raided the village of De Gaulle. They killed at least 17 villagers, raping women and girls. 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. 3R executed adult males during the heinous acts.
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 U.S. financial system,” said the statement.
“Bi Sidi Souleymane 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,” it added.
Souleymane was designated for being responsible for targeting of women, children, or civilians. The designation was through the commission of acts of violence, abduction and forced displacement. The acts includes attacks on civilian, religious, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge. The attacks can be classified through a conduct that would constitute a serious abuse or violation of human rights or a violation of international humanitarian law.
The rebel leader had signed a 2019 peace agreement and was appointed a military advisor to the government of Prime Minister Firmin Ngrébada. In 2020, however, he announced the group’s withdrawal from the agreement. There was said to be a disagreement over his role. He returned to the bush shortly after that.
The sanctions freeze the rebel leader’s asset and imposes a travel ban. The U.S sanction follows similar sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council earlier this week.