Spanish couple kidnapped in Colombia


A member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas mans a checkpoint near the town of Toribio, in the Colombian department of Cauca.


Luis Robayo

Two Spanish tourists were kidnapped in Colombia while driving in La Guajira, near the Venezuelan border.

The couple disappeared on Friday, but Spanish authorities only confirmed the kidnapping on Tuesday. A car the pair had rented three weeks ago was found in the border region where they had been traveling.

Maj. Cesar Gonzalez, of Colombia's anti-kidnapping unit, said officials found the car on Friday. It contained documents indicating that it had been rented on May 2 by Conchi Marlaska and Angel Sanchez, both from Spain.

The kidnappers contacted Marlaska and Sanchez's family, identifying themselves as members of FARC, but the rebel group has not claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Last year, the group said it would stop taking civilians hostage.

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Gonzalez said the couple was last seen in the coastal city of Santa Maria last week and that area residents have been questioned about what might have happened to the pair, but no information has been received about their possible whereabouts.

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo said the government is cooperating with Colombian authorities, but could not divulge any further details.

"The house rule is to keep absolute discretion [in these cases]," he told reporters.