Militia leader convicted in Central African Republic

Bangui - Human rights groups in Central African Republic say a former warlord who fought in the anti-Balaka militia has been sentenced to life in prison, a first for this conflict-wracked country.

The International Federation for Human Rights said on Monday that the conviction of Rodrigue Ngaibona, known as "General Andjilo," is the first of its kind since communal tensions erupted in 2013. A coalition of human rights group said on Monday it was a "decisive first step."

The anti-Balaka are an armed group that rose in opposition to the Muslim rebels who had overthrown the government in 2012.

Ngaibona, who claimed innocence, was convicted of multiple murders between October 2014 and January 2015.

Scores of militants on both sides of the conflict have evaded justice by disappearing into the lawless countryside.

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