British businessman and former UK consul has been released by kidnappers in Manabí

Dec 20, 2023 | 0 comments

A British businessman and former UK honorary consul has been released four days after being kidnapped in Ecuador, police have said.

Colin Armstrong

Colin Armstrong, 78, was kidnapped in the early hours of Saturday with a Colombian woman identified as his partner, Katherine Paola Santos, from his home in the town of Baba, according to a police report seen by the Guardian. He was driven away in his own black BMW, which was later found dumped, the report said.

“At the moment he is safe and healthy,” Gen César Zapata, commander general of Ecuador’s national police, wrote on X on Wednesday morning, with a photograph of Armstrong flanked by officers. Nine people had been arrested in connection with the kidnapping, police said.

Ecuador’s interior minister, Monica Palencia, said on X: “We will not allow impunity. Police actions continue.”

Armstrong is a former UK honorary consul in the port city of Guayaquil, a volunteer role that helps provide consular assistance, before leaving the position in 2016. He is the founder and owner of Agripac, a large agricultural products company in Ecuador, and owns the 500-acre (202 hectare) Tupgill Park estate in North Yorkshire. He was named Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2011.

The British ambassador in Ecuador, Chris Campbell, said: “We are delighted that Colin Armstrong OBE, our former honorary consul in Guayaquil, has been safely released.”

Police said Armstrong was rescued on the road to Manabi, a coastal province in Ecuador. On Saturday, a video posted on social media, purportedly of the house where he had been kidnapped, showed blood-stained sheets on a bed and ransacked rooms.

Police made no mention of the safety or whereabouts of Santos following Armstrong’s rescue. British news media have reported that she has connections to a former drug gang leader murdered last year in an Ecuadorian prison although prosecutors have offered no confirmation.
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Credit: The Guardian

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