Ecuador investigates the kidnapping of a British businessman and former honorary consul


QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuadorian authorities said Thursday they are investigating the kidnapping of a British businessman and former honorary consul, who was rescued by police after being abducted over the weekend.

The prosecutors’ press office said that several units are following some leads after police arrested nine suspects linked to the kidnapping of Colin Armstrong, but it didn’t provide further details.

Armstrong, 78, is an agricultural businessman who lives in the Ecuadorian city of Baba, more than 100 kilometers southwest of the capital, Quito. He was honorary consul in the port city of Guayaquil until 2016.

Armed people entered Armstrong home on Saturday and took him along with a woman, identified as his partner. They took them in the businessman’s own car, which was later abandoned and located near the area.

The commander of the National Police, Gen. César Zapata, said Wednesday that Armstrong was freed Tuesday night by police agents in the coastal province of Manabí, about 234 kilometers southwest of Quito, and that he was “safe and sound.”

Eight Ecuadorians and one foreigner were arrested.

Zapata said that Armstrong’s partner was released hours after the kidnapping and abandoned in an area not identified by the police with alleged explosive devices attached to her body that turned out to be fake.

The kidnappers had requested an important amount as ransom, according to the police. Authorities have not said how Armstrong was rescued as the case is still being investigated.

Ecuador has been engulfed in recent years in a surge of violence tied to drug trafficking, including homicides and kidnappings.

Daniel Noboa, an inexperienced politician and heir to a fortune built on the banana trade, was sworn in as president of Ecuador in November, saying his government’s main objective is to reduce violence.


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