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Tourists kidnapped in Ecuador freed
Australian and UK women freed after being being seized in north-east of country near Colombian border.
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2012 10:15
AJE [-]

Two women tourists kidnapped a day earlier in north-eastern Ecuador, near the Colombian border, have been released, Ecuadoran authorities say.

Ecuadoran authorities said on Saturday, the two women, one from Britain and another from Australia, were kidnapped near the Colombian border during a visit to a nature reserve in the Amazon.

Jose Serrano, the interior minister, said the 32-year-old Australian woman and 23-year-old Englishwoman "are in good condition".

Serrano hasn't given any details of the operation except to say the women were rescued on Saturday night, a day after they were taken in the Cuyabeno reserve in Ecuador.

They were traveling in a canoe as part of a group of seven tourists, five foreigners and two Ecuadorans and two local Ecuadorans working as guides.

Police and armed forces staff "located and rescued the two girls", the interior minister wrote on micro blogging site Twitter.

The Australian Embassy in the Chilean capital, Santiago, which is responsible for Ecuador, confirmed the rescue.

The mission "has confirmed that an Australian woman and a British woman who were kidnapped in Ecuador have been released and are currently in the care of Ecuadorian authorities," a foreign office spokeswoman told AFP news agency.

It is not clear which armed group carried out the kidnap, but local reports suggested a criminal gang called the Black Eagles, made up of ex-paramilitaries, might have been behind the abduction.

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