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Two men arrested for allegedly kidnapping and holding a man hostage for 11 days on the Costa del Sol

The pair demanded a 1.4-million-euro ransom from the victim's family and sent a video showing part of his ear being cut off. The man was eventually released in Mijas by his captors

Juan Cano

Malaga

Thursday, 4 July 2024, 14:33

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Two men have been arrested and remanded in custody on the Costa del Sol for allegedly kidnapping and holding a man hostage for 11 days, during which time they cut off part of the victim's ear and filmed the mutilation with a mobile phone. The video was then sent to the man's family along with a 1.4 million euro ransom.

The victim was locked up in a farm in Torrox, on the eastern side of Malaga province. It is not known if the ransom was paid, but the man was eventually released by his captors in Mijas.

The kidnapping happened in April 2023 and a relative of the victim reported the crime, which led to the start of Operation Rotator, carried out by officers attached toUdyco-Costa del Sol organised crime team. The complainant explained that a relative had travelled from Morocco to Malaga to have a "business" meeting - apparently related to drug trafficking - and that, due to circumstances unknown to him, he was being held against his will somewhere.

The kidnappers even contacted a relative of the victim by telephone and demanded 1.4 million euros for his release. They even sent a video which showed the moment when one of the kidnappers cut off a piece of the victim's ear with a machete. The person being held was also gagged and his hands and feet were tied, his eyes covered and his face bruised, according to Malaga's provincial police.

Released in Mijas

In the course of their enquiries, officers learned that the man had been released in an isolated area in Mijas. After receiving medical assistance, the victim's statement was taken.

According to the victim's statement, as well as cutting off part of his ear, the captors also deprived him of food and gave him very little water.

The investigations focused on the location of the meeting that the victim had with his captors, in a supermarket car park in Benalmádena. The victim then got into a van with members of the organisation and drove to a property on a farm in Torrox, where he was held hostage between 8 and 19 April 2023.

Data collected led to the identification of both the van used to go to the farm and a second car used in the man's release. Both vehicles belonged to a rental company.

Rural property

Subsequently, the exact location of the rural property where the abduction took place was determined, a property rented by a person who used a false French identity. There, a visual inspection was carried out by the force's provincial forensic science unit, which collected numerous biological traces - there were traces of blood - and also seized the knife used to mutilate the victim.

Police investigations led to the full identification of the person who drove the victim to the property and who was the author of the video of the assault. He was a French citizen of Algerian origin, residing in a remote area of Estepona. Another French Algerian man was identified as the alleged instigator of the kidnapping.

Believing that one of the suspects might leave the country to go to France, officers arrested the suspect and searched the house he was living in. As a result of the house search, an assault rifle - an AK-47 or Kalashnikov - and three pistols, as well as some 500 cartridges of different calibres, were seized, in addition to other items.

Arrested in Paris

On 30 April, the second of those under investigation was arrested in Paris thanks to the European Arrest Warrant issued by a court in Torremolinos, which has led the investigations. The two arrested are charged with the crimes of kidnapping, assault, membership of a criminal organisation and possession of weapons of war.

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