LA PAZ – Spanish Civil Guard officers and Bolivian police rescued a 9-year-old girl in Bolivia’s Cochabamba region who was abducted last year in northeastern Spain and arrested the kidnapper, Spanish diplomats told Efe.
The unidentified girl, who is a Moroccan citizen and lived with her family in the Spanish city of Hospitalet de Llobregat, was rescued on Saturday, Spanish Embassy spokesmen said.
The girl is in the custody of Bolivian police and is expected to return to Spain in the next few days.
Bolivian police worked closely with Spanish police and with the Spanish Embassy in La Paz on the case, the officials said.
Spanish Civil Guard officers traveled to Bolivia to coordinate the girl’s rescue.
The kidnapper, a Bolivian who lived in Spain for more than a year, was friends with the girl’s family and they allowed her to travel with him for a supposed vacation in Bolivia, the embassy spokesmen said.
The girl arrived in Bolivia in August and her family lost contact with her.
The family reported what happened to police in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia.
The kidnapper took the girl into a remote area in the Bolivian jungle region of Chapare and went deep into the hinterland to avoid detection by police, Spanish officials said.
“Bolivian police did commendable work without which it would have been impossible to find the girl,” Spanish diplomats said.
Bolivian police are holding the suspected kidnapper, who may be extradited to Spain.
A court in Hospitalet de Llobregat is handling the kidnapping case.