On the night between Monday and Tuesday, unidentified uniformed officers surrounded a group of activists from the Rescue Foundation who hurried to help a young Syrian man near the Poland-Belarus border. The volunteers were threatened with firearms and had their equipment taken away.
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The incident occurred on the night between Monday (January 10) and Tuesday (January 11) during an intervention in a forest near the Polish-Belarusian border, when volunteers from the Rescue Foundation (Fundacja Ocalenie) hurried to help a young Syrian man.

A mysterious patrol threatens human rights activists

Shortly after midnight, the Rescue Foundation wrote on its Facebook page: "We are near the village of Mielnik, at the request of a family member we are looking for a person in a bad physical condition. Suddenly, we were surrounded by uniformed officers. They didn’t want to identify themselves, they unlocked their weapons, and took away our phones. We were outnumbered by about two to one. Activists from other organizations and journalists who joined us had their phones taken away as well. The police arrived at the scene. Men in military uniforms withdrew, and we got our phones back. But they seized our other things, including a portable defibrillator.

We are trying to get them back. Meanwhile, activists from another organization have reached the man in need. He was unable to walk. He was taken away by an ambulance".

Some time later, the organization added more information: "Police officers at the scene say they can't tell whether it was the military or the Territorial Defence Force. The uniformed men most likely drove off with our medical backpack and AED. Yes, apparently they just snatched our stuff. These things were bought with money from a fundraiser set up for us by Jurek Owsiak. The police don't want to take a report from us while on-site, so we have to go to the police station".

Who were the men in military uniforms? The police are clueless

In another follow-up Facebook post, the volunteers wrote: "The police helped us determine that our belongings are... with the Border Guard! Interestingly, both the police and local activist believe that there are more such things taken from activists in the forest at the Border Guard outpost. After a moderately pleasant conversation with the Border Guard, we managed to get the stuff back".

On Tuesday afternoon (11 January), there was still no information about what happened to the Syrian boy rescued during the night. He was probably taken to a hospital in Siemiatycze.

According to the volunteers, he had convulsions and looked like he was having an epilepsy attack. In the afternoon, activists from the Rescue Foundation also still did not know who exactly were the men in military uniforms. The police officers who were at the scene could not even answer them whether it was the Polish army or the Territorial Defence Force.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m., we contacted the Press Department of the Operations Center of the Minister of Defense, asking for an explanation. We are still waiting for a response.


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