Press Releases

13. 3. 200810:11

Statement of Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek on the 25th anniversary of the kidnapping of Czechoslovak citizens from Alto Calumbela in Angola

Twenty five years ago, in the night from 12th to 13th March, 1983, sixty-six Czech and Slovak citizens were kidnapped by guerrillas of the UNITA movement from the Angolese town of Alla Calumbela.

These experts, accompanied by their family members, had been sent to Angola with the task to help this African country, which had just won independence, in restoring the operation of a paper mill. They were prevented from accomplishing their special mission by an attack of members of the UNITA armed anti-government movement, and all of them were kidnapped. They were then forced to spend several subsequent months marching hundreds of kilometres through desolate inland regions, and were exposed to conditions so severe, such as virtual starvation, that one of them died due to exhaustion and illness. The children, women and some of the men were released in June 1983, the rest not until June 1984.

Even though the decision to send the experts to Angola had been guided by the political interests of the communist regime which ruled in Czechoslovakia at that time, and their kidnapping was a logical consequence of the bi-polar division of the world and the cold war, I still highly praise their efforts to put their know-how into the service of the economic and social progress of a less developed country, even at the cost of personal hardship and threat to their health and lives.

The Czech Republic honours its international commitments and takes its share of responsibility for the solution of the situation in developing countries, and on this basis it implements its policy of foreign development cooperation; in this field, it is one of the greatest donors among the new EU members. Angola is one of the eight priority countries as regards Czech foreign development aid in 2006-2010.

Press Department of the Government of the Czech Republic