ADOPTIVE parents of a Western Sahara youngster say they fear for her safety after she was kidnapped by her family of origin, who are holding her hostage night and day under 24-hour surveillance.
Maloma Morales, 22, was taken in as a foster child by a Spanish couple in Mairena del Aljarafe (Sevilla province), later adopted, and holds a Spanish passport.
She travelled to the disputed Western Sahara territory two months ago with her adopted father José Morales to visit her biological family in Smara, politically considered to be part of Algeria – but a group of her relatives managed to separate her from José against her will, preventing her from returning to Spain.
Maloma and her Spanish family believe her family of origin had meticulously planned her kidnap.
The family has called upon the Guardia Civil, the Algerian embassy in Spain and the provincial council, as well as the Polisarian Front, which is the only authority permitted to act in free territory.
Spain's government says it has 'no jurisdiction in the matter', but has called for the Polisarian Front to move Maloma to the refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, where it does indeed have authority to act.
In an emotive press conference, Maloma's partner Ismael Arregui said the young woman was 'cut off in a remote area' and 'watched 24 hours a day', and that neither he nor her family in Spain had heard from her in 40 days.
“She was frightened about going back to her country of origin, and now this fear has transferred to her family via adoption,” Ismael revealed.
“Maloma has begged us 'not to forget her' because if we did, she 'would die'.”
He slamed the government and the Polisarian Front for their 'inaction', and added that the family in Spain had suffered 'threats' from Maloma's family of origin.
They have not been allowed to speak to her personally, only via one of her biological brothers as an 'intermediary'.
“He has said he'd prefer to see her dead than released, and I don't believe we should allow this – we mustn't let time pass because Maloma is in danger and we need to act now,” said the youngster's boyfriend, visibly upset.
Ismael says he has been threatened via Facebook, blackmailed into dropping the case and forgetting about Maloma.
“But I'm going to fight until the end – my wife is not a toy, nor an animal, to be negotiated over,” he stormed.
Maloma's adoptive mother, María del Carmen de Martos, said the first time she was able to speak to her daughter after she was kidnapped, Maloma told her that her biological brother was holding her hostage.
“She said, 'get me out of here or I'm going to die',” stressed María del Carmen.
Maloma's case is very similar to another reported in early autumn 2014, involving the then 23-year-old graduate Mahdjouba Mohammed Hamdidaf, from the Valencia region who visited her family of origin in the Tindouf area and was held hostage for several weeks.
Her adoptive family in Spain campaigned hard for help, but it was Mahdjouba herself who managed to escape and get herself to the Algerian police, enabling her to be repatriated.
She said her biological parents wanted her to be a proper Saharan girl and live with them in the refugee camp, but that she had been working in London, studying and living a western lifestyle and did not want to return to her roots.