A Spaniard has been kidnapped in the southwest of Colombia and has been held by his kidnappers for over a month, newspaper El Mundo from Spain reported Friday.
According to the newspaper, victim Sergio Muñiz was kidnapped in the Cauca department on June 5 by alleged members of drug gang “Los Rastrojos” with alleged support of rebel group FARC which officially has banned kidnapping.
The kidnappers have demanded a million euro ($1.3 million) ransom, the newspaper said.
Muñiz reportedly arrived in the city of Cali in the beginning of June where he was received by local friends. He then for unknown reasons traveled to Santander de Quilichao, a municipality local south of Cali and infamous for being a hotbed of criminal activity.
According to the newspaper, authorities — who have kept the kidnapping secret — assume it was in this municipality where he was kidnapped by members of the Rastrojos who then took him to Tacueyo, a region located in the mountain range in the east of the department which is almost entirely controlled by the FARC’s Jacobo Arenas column, an elite fighters unit with extensive experience in extortion and kidnapping.
El Mundo reported that the FARC offer territorial protection to the Rastrojos, who are in charge of the kidnapping, the holding of the prisoner and the negotiating the ransom. This way the FARC allegedly avoid breaking their promise to end kidnapping.
Muñiz is the third Spaniard and the fourth foreigner to be kidnapped in Colombia so far this year; Two Spaniards were rescued from their kidnappers by police forces in the north last month, while rebel group ELN is still holding a Spanish miner hostage in the north of the country.