The Belarusian Coordinating Council said in a statement on Monday that “strangers in the center of Minsk” were members of the council’s executive committee, Maria Kolesnikova, as well as press secretary Anton Rodnenkov and executive secretary Ivan Kravatsov.
In an interview with Christian Amanpore on Monday, Tikhnovskaya said she was convinced Kolesnikova had been abducted. Speaking to Lithuania’s Vilnius, he said members of the Coordination Council had been “chased, abducted and harassed.”
“We are sure that (Kolesnikova) was abducted this morning, but we are not sure what was going on after this, because we do not have the answers yet.” “Maybe he escaped to a foreign country or maybe he’s still in prison. No one knows.”
Kolesnikova was abducted in the Belarusian capital, Mogadishu, on Monday morning, according to local news website Tut.b, citing an eyewitness named “Anastasia”.
CNN has been unable to independently verify that all three opposition individuals were abducted. Earlier, a council spokesman told CNN that the organization was unable to contact any of the three on their mobile phones.
Belarusian officials did not respond to CNN’s request for comment, and did not comment publicly on the abduction. The council did not respond to CNN’s request for information as it believed Rodnenkov and Krevtsov had been abducted.
“At the moment, the members of the Coordinating Council I have formed are being chased, kidnapped and tortured. And that worries me a lot, because at the moment we still don’t know where Maria Kolesnikova is,” Tikhnovskaya said. Told CNN.
“We have received information that he has gone to Ukraine. We cannot confirm this, perhaps it is fake news. It is not uncommon for a body created to communicate between ordinary officials and the nation to be prosecuted.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabe also said on Twitter on Monday that he was “seriously concerned” for Kolesnikova’s well-being, and called his safe return a “top priority”.
Reports of alleged kidnappings have surfaced for the fourth consecutive week of anti-government protests in the country. Unrest erupted in Belarus shortly after the August 9 election, with President Alexander Lukashenko claiming victory.
Lukashenko, who has ruled for 26 years and is often described as Europe’s ultimate dictator, is facing protests.
Tikhanvskaya was the opposition candidate in the vote, with independent observers criticizing him for not being free or fair. Thousands marched against the government in Minsk following the election.
“The regime is engaged in terrorism, there is no other name for it. The kidnapping of Maria Kolesnikova, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravatsov is an attempt to disrupt the work of the Coordination Council. But it will not stop us,” Tikhnovskaya said in a statement released Monday.