Portuguese release hostages in Central African Republic

A group of Portuguese paratroopers participated over the weekend in an action to free three hostages in the Central African Republic (RCA), the General Staff of the Armed Forces (EMGFA) said on Friday.

The release of the three hostages, two elements of the United Nations Police and one of the internal security forces, took place on Saturday, a day after the abduction, attributed to the armed group People’s Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC), second a statement from the EMGFA, and there was no fighting.

The Portuguese troops were transported by helicopter to the kidnapping site in the Bria region, 600 kilometres from the capital, Bangui.

The three abductees were freed after negotiations and are in safety, according to information from the General Staff.

The 4th Outstanding National Force, composed of 156 soldiers, mostly paratroopers, left for RCA in September.

The Central African Republic fell into chaos and violence in 2013, after the overthrow of former President François Bozizé by several groups together in the so-called Séléka (which means a coalition in the local lingua franca), which sparked opposition from other militias grouped under the anti-balaka designation. MINUSCA has been in the country since 2014.

The conflict in RCA, which is the size of France and a population that is less than half the Portuguese (4.6 million), has already caused 700,000 displaced and 570,000 refugees and has placed 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

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