AU suspends Central African Republic, sanctions rebels

The African Union on Monday suspended the Central African Republic and ordered sanctions against the rebel leaders who captured the capital Bangui over the weekend, a senior AU official said.

"The council has decided to suspend with immediate effect (the) Central African Republic from all African Union activities and to impose sanctions, travel restrictions and an asset freeze on Seleka's leaders," said AU peace and security chief Ramtane Lamamra.

The Seleka coalition is a loose alliance of three rebel movements.

"The council asks all member states to take the measures necessary to completely isolate the authors of this anti-constitutional change of power ... not to afford them sanctuary and to facilitate the application of any other measure decided by the African Union, including trying the authors of this anti-constitutional change of government," he added.

Rebels took control of the capital Bangui on Sunday.

CAR had already been suspended from the AU when Francois Bozize himself came to power in a coup in 2003.

It was reintegrated two years later.