Cameroon army frees 16 hostages, including Polish priest

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A Cameroonian army operation has freed 16 hostages, including Polish Catholic priest Mateusz Dziedzic, who were abducted by rebels from Central African Republic last month, Cameroon’s government said on Wednesday.

“A special operation of Cameroonian defense and security forces permitted the liberation last night of 15 Cameroonian hostages …as well as the Polish priest Mateusz Dziedzic,” the statement said.

The head of the organization that runs Poland’s overseas Catholic missions had said a rebel group known as the Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC) abducted Dziedzic on the night of Oct. 12 in neighboring Central African Republic.

The FDPC, one of a number of armed groups that has fought the Central African government and other militants in an off-on conflict in the former French colony over the past decade, had demanded Cameroon release its leader Abdoulaye Miskine.

It was not immediately clear if this condition had been met.

The FDPC was initially allied with Seleka, a coalition of local rebels that also included fighters from neighboring Sudan and Chad which toppled the Central African government and seized the capital Bangui in March 2013.

After falling out with Seleka, Miskine fled to Cameroon and was arrested there in September 2013.

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