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KIDNAP

Marriage proposal lends kidnap ordeal happy end

The story of two Spaniards rescued after a month-long kidnap ordeal looks set to have a happy ending after their press conference turned into a public marriage proposal.

Marriage proposal lends kidnap ordeal happy end
"I am only alive thanks to her," said Angel Sánchez before asking: "Will you marry me?" Photo: STR/AFP

María Concepción Marlaska and Ángel Sánchez were taken hostage by a guerrilla group on May 17th and held in a remote area of Colombia's La Guajira province near the border with Venezuela.

They were finally freed after a raid by a specialist anti-kidnapping unit.

The couple initially refused to make any public comments about their experience but that changed on Sunday when they held a press conference in the Spanish embassy in Bogota, according to Catalan daily El Periodico.

Sánchez, 49, seized the opportunity to propose to Marlaska, 43, his partner of seven years.

"I'm going to do something I thought I would not ever do, at least under these circumstances, which is to ask for your hand in marriage," he said.

"I hope you don't say no."

"Will you be my wife? Will you marry me?" he asked.

Marlaska's reply was emphatic: "Yes."

The couple detailed their "traumatic" experience but said that they were both "very well."

Marlaska explained that the experience had brought them closer because "it is essential to become a team to stay strong" and said that throughout their period of captivity they had mutually supported each other to keep their spirits up.

A visibly emotional Sánchez declared: "I want to say something very important, in public."

"I am only alive thanks to her."

He added: "I want the whole world to know, because otherwise I would have gone crazy."

The couple, both from Avilés in the northern autonomous region of Asturias, said that they were eager to return to normal daily life when they return to Spain on Monday.

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POLICE

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.

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