Cameroon frees Central African rebel chief Miskine for hostages

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 28, 2014 7:40 AM

BANGUI (Reuters) - Cameroonian authorities have freed a rebel leader from Central African Republic two days after a group of 26 hostages including a Polish Catholic priest were released by his faction, a spokesman for rebel group FDPC said on Friday.

"General Abdoulaye Miskine left a Yaounde prison yesterday," said Lieutenant Leonard Kamdika, spokesman for the Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC), adding that Miskine planned to go to neighboring Republic of Congo.

The FDPC had seized 15 Cameroonian and 10 Central African hostages in western Central African Republic over the past few months for use as bargaining chips for their leader's release. The group abducted Polish priest Mateusz Dziedzic on Oct. 12.

Miskine, accused of war crimes by the International Federation for Human Rights, was arrested in Cameroon over a year ago.

A spokesman for the Cameroonian defense ministry declined to comment on Miskine's release. It had said in a statement on Wednesday that the hostages were freed in a military operation.

The FDPC is 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.

It was briefly allied with Seleka, a rebel coalition that seized power in Central African Republic in March 2013. However, Miskine quarreled with Seleka commanders and subsequently fled to Cameroon.

(Reporting by Crispin Dembassa-Kette; Additional reporting by Anne Mireille Nzouankeu in Yaounde; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Daniel Flynn)