Friday, March 14, 2014

Spain/Bolivia: Girl, Age 9, Kidnapped by "Family Friend," Taken to Chapare, A "Lesson-Learned"

According to EFE, Spanish Civil Guard officers and Bolivian police rescued a Moroccan girl, age 9, who was kidnapped in August 2013, ostensibly by a family friend under the pretext of a vacation.

The youngster, who lived with her parents in Spanish Catalonia, were completely unaware of the kidnapper's true motive.

In actuality, the child was abducted in northeastern Spain, with the end result being that in she was taken to time to  

Spain's Guardia Civil is the Spanish gendarmerie. It has foreign peace-keeping missions and maintains military status and is the equivalent of a federal military-status police force. 

As such, the Guardia Civil is similar to the French Genarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri, the Portuguese National Republican Guard and the Dutch Royal Marechaussee.

COMMENT:  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 (March 8), according to a Spanish Embassy representative in La Paz.

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 in the rescue of the kidnap victim. Spanish Guardia Civil officers also 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, although the parents should have been more circumspect in terms of the trustworthiness of the "family friend."

The girl arrived in Bolivia in August 2013, at which point her family lost contact with her given her being abducted.

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.

“Bolivian police did commendable work without which it would have been impossible to find the girl,” Spanish diplomats were quoted as saying.

Bolivian police are currently holding the kidnapper, who will be extradited to Spain.

Needless to say, this is a major message-point for all parents who are concerned with the safety and security of their children, particularly when a "family friend" proposes taking a child abroad.

Not knowing the sophistication of the girl's parents, and based upon the information described above, taking a minor child to a foreign country is no easy task, given the passport and documentation that most countries require in order to transport a minor to another country when the person escorting the child is not a blood relative. 


One can only assume that the kidnapper who abducted the Moroccan girl to Bolivia bribed local officials to make up for the lack of documentation.