Masao Tsutsui, 68, is a resident of Candalaria, a town near Cali, where he and his wife run a nursery specializing in ornamental plants.
Nelsy, who has been married to Tsutsui for 33 years, said that the elite anti-kidnap unit of the army, GAULA, told her that “common criminals” had sold her husband on “to guerrillas.”
Sixty-nine-year-old Nelsy said that her husband’s captors were asking for a ransom payment of COP500 million ($260,000), but had initially demanded double that figure.
“Surely they realize we have no money,” Nelsy said. “The only thing we have is a nursery of ornamental plants, which we need to live, and a van, which was burned by the kidnappers,” she said.
Nelsy added that a son of Tsutsui’s from a previous marriage has been in contact with the kidnappers but was not sharing any information “apparently because of a rivalry between them and us.”
The Japanese Embassy in Bogota has so far refused to confirm or comment on the situation.
Masao Tsutsui immigrated to Colombia to work on a Japanese-owned banana plantation in 1961 after finishing high school in Japan. Three years later he left the job and started his own nursery.