Logo Polskiego Radia

Poland in 'urgent' bid to release kidnapped priest in CAR

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 15.10.2014 09:38
Poland's foreign ministry has said 'urgent action' is being taken for the release of a Polish missionary abducted by an anti-government militia in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Father Mateusz Dziedzic in CAR: photo - facebook

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up an Emergency Team which is in ongoing contact with the Polish Episcopal Conference’s Commission for Missions,” a statement released by the ministry says.

Talks concerning the release of Father Mateusz Dziedzic, abducted in the town of Baboua on 12 October, are being held with the Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC), a splinter group of the Seleka partisans.

According to Father Tomasz Atlas, leader of Poland's Pontifical Mission Societies, FDPC wants to exchange the missionary for their leader, Abdoulaye Miskine, who is currently in prison in Cameroon.

Miskine fled CAR in 2013 after falling out with the Seleka coalition.

Poland's foreign ministry says that Father Dziedzic is being “treated well” by the group but added that “all speculation might adversely influence a positive solution to the case,” and has called for “media discretion and prudence […] also for the sake of the hostage’s family.”

Thirty two Polish missionaries are currently working in the former French colony.

The ministry said that the priest had spoken to other missionaries by phone but would not give further details.

FDPC – who are they?

The Democratic Front of the Central African People FDPC) is one of a number of armed anti-government militias in the Central African Republic, a country riven with political and ethnic conflict, which the UN Mission for the Stabilization of the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) was sent in to try and stabilise in September.

Formed in 2006 under the leadership of Abdoulaye Miskine the group is known for kidnapping, including children, for ransom.

FDPC was part of the 'Seleka CPSK-CPJP-UFDR' coalition, which toppled the President Bozizé regime last year and which is made up, according to security analyst Yves Golo Gatien, of “delinquents, criminals, highwaymen, fugitives from justice and mercenaries from Sudan and Chad”.

After conflict within the Seleka coalition, FDCP leader Miskine fled to Cameroon and was arrested there in September 2013.

Following briefly holding power in the capital Bangui, Seleka coup leader Michel Djotodia resigned and the group disbanded in January 2014.

The Muslim-based Seleka group was accused of atrocities against the majority Christian population in CAR.

Current interim president, Catherine Samba Panza, has faced calls to resign for failing to bring the Seleka fighters under control.

The latest wave of violence in CAR has displaced some 6,500 people, mostly Muslims, says the UN.

There are currently around 410,000 internally displaced persons in the country with around 420,000 CAR refugees have fled to the neighbouring countries. (nh/pg)

Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us