Spanish Tourists Describe Colombian Kidnapping Nightmare After Rescue

Created: 2013-06-17 11:20 EST

Category: World
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Two Spanish tourists rescued by Colombian police after being held captive by a criminal gang told journalists on Sunday (June 16) that they lived in constant fear for their lives.

Colombian police rescued early on Saturday Maria Concepcion Marlaska, 43, and Angel Fernandez, 49, who were held captive by a criminal gang for nearly a month in northern Colombia, finding them sleeping in hammocks, and two men collecting a ransom were arrested in Spain, police officials said.

Maria Concepcion Marlaska, 43, and Angel Fernandez, 49, were seized on May 17 while traveling by car to the popular tourist destination of Cabo de la Vela on Colombia's northern peninsula.

[Angel Fernandez, Spanish Tourist]:
"They told us to get into the car, that they were robbing us, that they wanted to take our car, I don't know what but I refused. I fought, refusing (to do as they said). Once they put you in the car, I don't know what could happen, we were in their hands, literally. They then hit me over the head, they hit me with a gun and, well, I started to bleed. I stained everything with blood and they stuck us in the car. They stuck us in the car and pushed us down and they took us. We can't remember how long it took or where."

Fernandez said they lived in constant fear.

As part of a coordinated effort with Spanish authorities, a ransom worth 500,000 Euros ($667,000 USD) was paid in Madrid, according to Colombian authorities.

Spanish police later arrested the two bag-men, one Spanish and one from Syria, he said. The cash was recovered.

The tourists were freed just after midnight near the city of Maicao on a stretch of land which juts into the Caribbean Sea and borders northwestern Venezuela.

President Juan Manuel Santos said on his Twitter account that he spoke to them after their release and apologized for their ordeal.