A Polish doctor was kidnapped on Friday by unknown armed men in southern Chad, along with a Mexican colleague whom the kidnappers abandoned in their flight, the local governor announced to AFP on Sunday.
No one claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but it occurred in a region where armed bandits relatively frequently kidnap Chadian civilians for ransom.
Doctor Aleksandra Kuligowska, a volunteer, was kidnapped from the Saint-Michel hospital in the locality of Dono Manga, administered by the international Catholic humanitarian organization Caritas, and located more than 400 km southeast of the capital N 'Djamena.
“They were armed and took the hostages on motorbikes”
Two men accompanying a fake patient had arrived in the morning at this establishment and the three took advantage of the absence, for the great Muslim Friday prayer, of the soldiers who usually secure him, to kidnap the two doctors, said by telephones AFP Ildjima Abdraman, governor of the province of Tandjilé, where Dono Manga is located.
A fourth attacker joined them.
“They were armed and took the hostages on motorbikes,” continued Ms. Abdraman, before adding: “under pressure from the police pursuing them, they abandoned the Mexican doctor but managed to disappear with the lady ".
“They assured their hostages that they did not want to harm them but only wanted money,” said the governor, based on the testimony of the Mexican doctor.
“Intensive research is underway”
The kidnapping was confirmed to AFP by Nicolas Nadji Ban, the bishop of the diocese of Laï, who chairs the local branch of Caritas managing the hospital.
“We are working in partnership with American, European and South American structures who come to lend us a hand,” he explained by telephone to AFP.
No more than the governor, he was not able to say who the kidnappers were.
“Intensive searches are underway (…) carried out by Chadian and French forces (based in Chad, editor’s note)”, to “find” a Polish doctor kidnapped in Chad”, announced the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release.
According to Mgr Nadji Ban, this is the first time that a kidnapping has occurred “in this area”.
But a little further south, the region is scoured on both sides of the borders of Cameroon and the Central African Republic by bandits "road cutters" who kidnap civilians in particular for ransom.