On Tuesday (December 7), activists from the Granica Group informed about the disappearance of a four-year-old Iraqi girl in a forest on the Polish-Belarusian border. Such information was to be provided to them by her parents, who were to be pushed to the Belarusian side by border guards. A spokeswoman for the Border Guard said on Thursday (December 9) that the conducted land and air search did not help. The Ombudsman sent a letter to the provincial police commander with a photo of the girl attached.
– All patrols have information that such an incident has been reported. We do not know anything new – said Lieutenant Anna Michalska, spokeswoman for the Border Guard, during a press conference on Thursday (9 December).
Let us recall that on Tuesday, the Granica Group informed in social media that on the night of December 6-7 “another person disappeared in the zone on the Polish side of the border – this time four-year-old Eileen from Iraq”.
The girl was to be cared for by a stranger, whom he helped carry her
According to activists, the girl crossed the Polish border with her parents and a group of adults.
“The family experienced violence by Belarusian officers – their phone was taken and their SIM card was destroyed. The Polish Border Guard caused them additional suffering – despite their poor health, Eileen’s parents were taken to Belarus. Although the guards were aware of how inhuman conditions the migrants were forced to camp on the Belarusian side, the girl’s family was not granted protection, wrote Grupa Granica.
She added that “the girl was last seen on the Polish side near Nowy Dwór”. “While the SG was taking her parents to the forest, Eileen was in the care of another person who helped carry her. It is not known where she is now” – reads the activists’ report.
The Granica Group demanded that the Polish services “undertake immediate search activities, find Eileen and bring those who carried out the deportation to justice”.
“If the situation concerned a Polish child, all search services would be involved. Eileen is not looking for any of the services. Currently, only a group of residents of the restricted zone do it. Within 60 minutes, we can start up to 100 volunteers and volunteers to search the forest and look for the child. We just need permission. at the entrance to the zone “- the Granica Group wrote on Tuesday.
According to TVN24, activists received information about the disappearance of the 4-year-old girl from her parents. They informed that in the morning they had alerted the Polish services and the Polish Red Cross.
A spokeswoman for the Border Guard on a search involving a helicopter: we found no one
A spokeswoman for the Border Guard said on Tuesday (December 7) in an interview with TVN24 that on Monday “around 10 pm, Border Guard officers detained a group of six illegal immigrants, they were former Iraqi citizens.”
– The incident took place on the section protected by the Border Guard post in Nowy Dwór. They were adults. None of these foreigners declared their will to stay in Poland, or to submit an application for international protection on the territory of Poland. Neither of these people required any medical attention either. Nobody has made any comments that she feels unwell, she said. – These people were instructed about the obligation to leave the territory of Poland and brought to the border line – she added.
As Lieutenant Michalska said, on Tuesday “between 11 and 12 o’clock we started receiving signals – the first telephone call, then an e-mail – from the Office of the Human Rights Defender that there are foreigners on the Belarusian side who are looking for their child, a four-year-old girl, from what we have. in this e-mail, in the information that these people were on the Polish side “. She added that SG “had no reports from activists”.
Michalska said that on Monday “there were no families with children at all along the entire section of the Polish-Belarusian border, there were no minors”. She reported that after receiving information from the Human Rights Defender’s Office, the Border Guard began searching for the area. “A helicopter got involved in this search as well,” he added. – We didn’t find anyone. Neither adults nor children, she said.
– At the moment, we have finished our activities, because there is no indication that this person was on the Polish side – said the spokeswoman on Tuesday afternoon.
Michalska: We don’t know much
Michalska also reported that on Monday around 10 p.m. during the detention of a group of migrants, “the entire incident, the entire area was monitored from a drone, using also night vision and thermal imaging systems”. – This area was also monitored for several hours after this incident in order that we were looking for possible people who had separated from this group, or if someone else had crossed the border at that time – she added. – We didn’t detain anyone, there weren’t any people. There were no children, she said.
– According to the e-mails sent by the activists to the human rights ombudsman, these foreigners claim that they were with the child and that they handed the child over to a stranger who was carrying it on his shoulder. They do not know this man’s personal details, they have no contact with him. that the child with this man was separated from the parents in Dubnica Kurpiowska. There is no such town on the Polish side, it is on the Belarusian side. We detained these people near the village of Wołyńce. There was neither a child, nor any man with a child, nearby, or several dozen meters away – said a spokeswoman for the Border Guard.
– We got a photo of this child’s shoe from the ombudsman. This is the only signal – she added. When asked if it was possible to communicate with the child’s parents, Michalska said that “we have no contact with foreigners who are on the Belarusian side”. “We don’t know much, and we don’t have a picture of this child,” she added.
As reported on Wednesday by a TVN24 reporter, activists are still searching on their own.
There are a lot of questions and doubts that have not been answered
There are many questions and doubts about this. We do not know if the child really is missing. If it happened, when exactly, where and under what circumstances it happened.
It is not known whether the 4-year-old’s family was really on the Polish side. We do not know whether the child may be on the Polish or Belarusian side.
We do not know if the information about the girl’s origins and age are correct.
We don’t know who the person the girl was supposed to be with was.
We do not know where the child’s parents are at present.
We do not know if people other than the migrant family are able to confirm the described event.
The Border Guard directed additional forces and resources
During the Thursday (December 9) press conference, Lieutenant Michalska stated that additional forces and resources were directed to the border area to find the girl.
– Girls and a man in total, because please remember that the parents gave the child to a stranger, whom they had no data and to whom they had no contact and whom they are unable to identify – she said.
She added that several hours of searches were carried out from land and air using all the systems available to the services. – We found nothing. We have also found no traces of any presence of these people on the territory of Poland. But patrols have it in mind all the time and we are also patrolling the border in this respect – the spokeswoman pointed out.
The Border Guard sees no need to use the help of activists
When asked whether the Border Guard was considering admitting activists to the border area that was prohibited from entering, she replied that the Border Guard did not see such a need.
– Patrols are equipped with various types of night vision and thermal imaging equipment. There are also soldiers of the Polish Army, Territorial Defense Forces soldiers and police officers – said Lieutenant Michalska.
The Commissioner for Human Rights sent a letter to the police commander. There is a picture of the girl
On Thursday, the Polish Press Agency reported, the deputy Ombudsman, Hanna Machińska, sent the Chief Inspector of Police in Białystok to the Provincial Police Commander in Białystok. Robert Szewc, a letter in which he asks whether the case of the probable disappearance of the child is known to the Podlasie police and whether any actions were taken in this case. It is especially about searching for a child.
If not, the Deputy Human Rights Defender asks for urgent consideration of the possibility of engaging police officers in search activities, including formations specialized in searching for missing persons. A photo of the girl was attached to the letter. It is known that she was wearing a red jacket
Main photo source: Wojtek Jargiło / PAP