Venezuela police free French hostage

Venezuelan police have freed a French woman held hostage near Caracas since late last year, a source close to the investigation has said.

    Minana was kidnapped by a group of six to eight men in December

    Police launched a commando raid and freed Stephanie Minana, a 25-year-old Spanish student, on Friday. Two of her captors were killed in the struggle with police. 

    Minana was kidnapped by a group of six to eight men on 8 December as she returned to her brother's home in Valera, 500 kms southwest of Caracas. 

    She was in a "total state of shock" when police found her in a tent guarded by her captors, who "without a doubt planned to kill her, to cover their tracks, even if they obtained the ransom they tried to negotiate with her family," the source said, noting that they had negotiated a ransom of "less than 100,000 euros" with Minana's family. 

    'Traumatised'

    She had been "badly abused by her kidnappers," the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    According to her brother, speaking from Lyon in southwestern France, Minana sounded deeply traumatised by the ordeal when he spoke with her on the telephone. 

    "I felt her to be somewhere else, it felt like dealing with a tiny girl, her voice was so quiet, she was very calm and did not cry," Jean-Christophe Minana told AFP by telephone. 

    He added that he did not know when his sister would be flown home, saying it would depend on her physical and psychological state of health.

    SOURCE: AFP


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