Two Spanish tourists have been kidnapped while traveling through a remote area of northeast Colombia, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday, adding that their captors have demanded a ransom for their release.
The names of the couple were not officially released, but the Bogota daily El Tiempo has identified them as Ángel Sánchez Fernández, 43, and María Concepción Marlaska Sedano. Quoting several sources, news agency Efe reported that the woman is related to High Court Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska.
Authorities have not ruled out that the couple were taken across the border to Venezuela. According to the daily, the two rented a car in Bogota and were heading to the beach resort of Cabo de la Vela, in La Guajira department, before they were kidnapped on Friday.
La Guajira is considered a dangerous area because of the number of paramilitaries, drug traffickers, smugglers and guerrilla groups that operate there.
The couple left their luggage behind at a hotel in the region while their car was found with a broken window at a ranch about 85 kilometers outside of Uribia, El Tiempo reported.
During calls to the victims’ families back home, the kidnappers identified themselves as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), but authorities consulted by Efe have not confirmed this.
According to one source, it is not the guerrilla group’s modus operandi to demand a ransom the following day after a kidnapping.