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Sunday May 19, 2024

Dramatic rescue: Kidnapped British millionaire found safe in Ecuador after massive police operation



Colin Armstrong, 78, rescued by Ecuadorian authorities; 15 abductors posing as cops apprehended

In a harrowing incident that unfolded in Ecuador, British millionaire Colin Armstrong, 78, has been successfully rescued by the Ecuadorian police after a brazen abduction from his ranch in the province of Los Rios. The daring operation involved 15 men who had disguised themselves as police officers during the raid on Armstrong’s home.

The abduction occurred on December 16, when Armstrong and his partner, Katherine Paola Santos, were taken hostage. The assailants, masquerading as law enforcement, left behind a scene of violence, as evidenced by blood on a bed and a broken door frame, captured in footage shared by local media outlets.

The UK’s Foreign and Development Office confirmed its collaboration with Ecuadorian authorities, expressing concern over the disappearance of the prominent businessman and former UK honorary consul. Ecuadorian police units swiftly initiated operational and investigative efforts on the ground.

The alleged kidnappers fled the scene in Armstrong’s black BMW, later found abandoned. Following the vehicle’s trail to Guayaquil, where Armstrong was a former UK honorary consul, the authorities located him 118 miles away from the car’s last known location.

General Commander of the National Police of Ecuador, César Augusto Zapata Correa, announced the successful rescue on Twitter, posting a blurred picture of Armstrong with two police officers. He stated, “On the road to #Manabí, our units RELEASED citizen Collin A., kidnapped days before in #LosRíos. At the moment he is safe and healthy.”

Armstrong’s spokesperson, Leo Morris, confirmed his safety with the police and Ecuadorian authorities. Commander Correa disclosed that nine individuals linked to the kidnapping had been arrested during raids on 30 homes.

In a significant seizure during the operations, authorities confiscated five grenades, six firearms, 1,500 rounds of ammunition, 30 detonators, and nine phones. Additionally, two vehicles and two kilograms of substances are currently under analysis.

Colin Armstrong, a prominent figure known for owning the Agripac agriculture firm in Ecuador and the Tupgill Park estate in Yorkshire, England, has a longstanding connection to the UK monarchy. He was awarded an OBE and CMG by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 for his services to the British Monarchy.

While Armstrong has been found safe, police have yet to provide further updates on the ongoing investigation into this high-profile kidnapping.


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