Guerrilla group kidnaps Spaniards in Colombia

Two Spanish tourists were kidnapped on Friday in a remote area of northeast Colombia by a group that claims to be part of the country’s notorious armed group FARC, Spain’s foreign ministry reported on Tuesday.

Guerrilla group kidnaps Spaniards in Colombia
The kidnappers claim they're part of Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) but authorities deny it. Photo:Luis Robayo/AFP

Although Spanish authorities haven’t released the couple’s names, Bogota newspaper El Tiempo has identified them as Ángel Sánchez Fernández and María Concepción Marlaska Sedano.

It remains unclear whether the captors are actually part of Colombia’s main “terrorist” group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

According to sources close to Spanish news agency EFE, the fact that the abductors asked the victims’ families for a ransom on the day after the kidnapping is a reason to mistrust their claims as it goes against FARC’S modus operandi.

Efe also reported that the woman is a relative of high-profile judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska.

The Associated Press said on Tuesday that the middle-aged couple were last spotted in the coastal city of Santa Marta a week ago.

El Tiempo newspaper wrote that the Spanish couple had rented a car in Bogotá and were heading to the beach resort of Cabo de la Vela before they were kidnapped on Friday.

But local residents who have been questioned haven’t been able to provide any information as to what might have happened to the couple after that.

They left their luggage behind at a hotel in the Guajira region, an area renowned for its heavy paramilitary and drug trafficker presence

Their car was found with a broken window at a ranch about 85 kilometres outside of the town of Uribia, El Tiempo reported.

Colombian authorities now suspect the couple have been taken across the border to Venezuela. 

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Spanish police arrest man over alleged kidnap of daughter at gunpoint in Britain

Spanish police said Wednesday they have arrested an Algerian man who allegedly snatched his two-year-old daughter at gunpoint in Britain and fled the country with her.

Spanish police arrest man over alleged kidnap of daughter at gunpoint in Britain
File photo of a man in handcuffs. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP.

The 44-year-old was detained on a plane at Madrid airport during a scheduled stop en route to Oran, Algeria's second city, on August 1st, the same day he abducted his daughter in Nottingham, a police spokesman said.

The man, who had lost custody of his daughter, turned up at the house where she was staying “and took her by force after threatening the staff with a firearm and tying them up,” police said in a statement.

“Officers located and detained the fugitive in a plane which was about to take off. The girl was with him”.

British police said reports that the girl had been in a children's home were inaccurate and she was in fact taken from a family home.   

As part of the same investigation, British police have also arrested and charged a 43-year-old woman for child abduction, possession of a firearm, false imprisonment and aggravated burglary.

The girl was handed over to social services in Madrid until she can be returned to Britain, the Spanish police spokesman said.   

The man is waiting to appear before a judge in Madrid who will decide whether to extradite him back to Britain to face trial, he added.