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Colombian fathered 8 kids with daughter

A COLOMBIAN man accused of sexually abusing his daughter from a young age and fathering eight children with her was arrested on Saturday, causing an outcry over the lack of child protection.

Arcebio Alvarez, 58, told a judge he was innocent, saying his accuser was not his biological daughter.

He was held in custody while the children - three boys and five girls, aged from 1 to 19 - were put under state protection. He was transported to jail under military guard to keep angry crowds at bay.

Earlier in the day, Alvarez was led away in handcuffs by agents from Colombia's attorney general's office after Alba Nidia Alvarez, the 35-year-old woman who claims to be his biological daughter, told police he had abused her since she was under the age of 10.

Alba Nidia, from the central Colombian town of Mariquita, said an evangelical Christian pastor had convinced her to come forward about the suspected abuse.

"I took this decision according to the will of God, thanks to a pastor who prayed for me many times," she told the daily newspaper El Tiempo. "That is what gave me the strength."

The accused told a different story when he went before a judge on Saturday afternoon in Tolima province.

"I adopted her," he said. "We agreed to have a romantic relationship because we really loved each other. But she was not my own child."

Nidia's mother died when she was 5, leaving her under the care of Alvarez.


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