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Spain Politician Foils Kidnappers

May 29, 1998

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ A town councilman foiled a kidnapping attempt by suspected Basque separatists, leaping from a car after his two captors became embroiled in an argument, state-run radio said Thursday.

Bartoleme Rubia Munoz, 26, was seized by a man and woman in the southern town of La Carolina, the radio report quoted the town’s mayor, Ramon Palacio, as saying.

Rubia fled his kidnappers’ car in the northern Basque city of Irun, about 310 miles north of La Carolina, after the couple began arguing. He quickly hailed another car and was taken to a police station, where he was reported to be in good condition.

The Basque separatist group ETA was suspected in the kidnapping, the radio report said. ETA, an acronym for Basque Homeland and Liberty, has killed nearly 800 people since 1968 when it began fighting for an independent Basque state in northern Spain.

Although most of ETA’s victims have been security force members, the group increasingly has targeted politicians in recent years.

Earlier this month, a Civil Guard officer and a town councilman were killed in separate attacks blamed on Basque separatists.

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