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Polish priest abducted in Central African Republic

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 14.10.2014 14:01
A Polish priest has been abducted by partisans in the Central African Republic amid an escalation of sectarian violence in the country.

Mateusz Dziedzic in CAR: photo - facebook

Father Mateusz Dziedzic, who is from the Tarnow diocese of southern Poland, has been a missionary in the predominantly Christian country since 2009.

Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in March 2013, although their leader Michel Djotodia later stood down from the presidency.

The Central African Republic's current interim president, Christian Catherine Samba Panza, has herself faced calls to resign for failing to bring the Seleka fighters under control, despite the presence of a UN peacekeeping force, including 50 Poles.

Last week, a UN soldier was killed during a road ambush near the capital of Bangui, although it was unclear who was responsible for the attack.

Father Tomasz Atlas, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, has told Polish Radio that talks are being held with partisans over the release of Father Mateusz Dziedzic. It is understood that the fighters want to exchange the priest for a comrade-in-arms who is currently being held.

In February this year, Poland's foreign ministry tried to organise the evacuation of all Polish nationals in the republic, but many missionaries insisted on staying. (nh)

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