British spies called in to find kidnapped missing millionaire as partner rescued

British spies have been called in to help Ecuadorian attempts to find the kidnapped millionaire Colin Armstrong – just after his glamorous partner was rescued during a secret operation.

Katherine Paola Santos, who is dating Mr Armstrong, was abducted alongside the 78-year-old from his ranch home in Ecuador on Saturday.

Unconfirmed local reports say the authorities managed to secure Ms Santos’ safety this week and have been conducting interviews with her to understand the details surrounding Mr Armstrong’s disappearance.

And now the British intelligence service has today been called in to assist Ecuadorian police as fears for Mr Armstrong’s safety intensify.

To demonstrate the significance of the case, Cesar Zapata – the general commander of Ecuador’s National Police force – has taken personal control of the investigation.

READ MORE: Ex-British Consul and partner kidnapped in Ecuador by masked men

A specialist anti-kidnap and extortion unit called UNASE has also been called in to support the investigation.

Mr Armstrong was Britain’s former honorary consul in the city of Guayaquil – Ecuador’s second-largest city.

It was a role he held until 2016 when his son Nick took over the post.

So far, the National Police has only issued one official comment on the kidnap, which was undertaken at around 2.45am local time at Mr Armstrong’s Rancho Rodeo Grande ranch.

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Following the incident on X, the force posted: “Following an apparent criminal act against a businessman in the early hours of this morning in Los Rios, specialist police units are carrying out operative and investigative work on the ground.”

It is believed Mr Armstrong was kidnapped as part of an operation involving at least 15 gangsters, who bundled him into a black BMW.

Since then unconfirmed video footage on social media has emerged seemingly showing Ms Santos having an explosives vest removed by cops on Saturday.

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Nick Armstrong, who runs the family estate in North Yorkshire, had flown to Ecuador last night as he joined the support team assisting cops.

Diana Armstrong-Bruns, Mr Armstrong’s daughter, told MailOnline: “This is a critical time, we’ve been told not to say anything to anyone.

“We just want my father back.”

No reports for ransom demands have yet been received.

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