Kidnap & Ransom report – Match 17, 2019
17-Mar-19

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 14/03/19) Cuban migrants kidnapped in Tamaulipas

Four Cuban nationals have been reported kidnapped from the northern border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas State. The report was made by relatives of the hostages, after they were contacted by the kidnappers. The Cubans had reportedly arrived in Mexico from the southern border in Tapachula, Chiapas state, where they requested a safe-conduct from the Mexican authorities. With the document in hand, they travelled by plane to Reynosa on 10 March. Upon arrival, they took a taxi, which would take them to the border crossing, but instead, the driver handed them over to an organized criminal group. The group holding the migrants later called their relatives, most of them Miami residents, demanding between USD 1,300 and USD 1,800 for each of the hostages. According to some of the relatives, the Cubans are being held at a safe house with at least nine other kidnapping victims. The Cubans’ relatives have expressed concern that the hostages will be killed even after paying the demanded ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (MEXICO, 14/03/19) 34 Central American migrants rescued in Tamaulipas
The Mexican army rescued 34 Central American migrants who had been kidnapped in the northern border state of Tamaulipas. The victims, including 25 Hondurans, eight Guatemalans and one Salvadorian, had been held at a property in the city of Altamira. No arrests were made. The rescue took place as part of a security operation codenamed ‘Operativo Búsqueda en Vida Tamaulipas’, launched by the state authorities on 13 March, following the kidnapping of other 19 Central American migrants from a bus near the city of Reynosa. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (MEXICO, 15/03/19) Human smugglers arrested for kidnapping Salvadorian woman

Sonora State authorities arrested a gang of human smugglers for the kidnapping, robbery, assault and rape of a female Salvadorian migrant. The woman had initially contacted the gang via social media, requesting their services to cross the border. A meeting was set up between the woman and the gang in the city of Nogales, after which she was taken to a safe house, where she was robbed of her belongings and the USD 4,000 she was to pay them to help her cross the border. The criminals additionally contacted her relatives in the US, to demand a ransom for her release. The victim was set free after three days, when the kidnappers found out the authorities were searching for the migrant. FULL ARTICLE (1)

4. (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, 15/03/19) Swiss man rescued by Swiss diplomatic authorities in Dajabón

Members of the Swiss embassy, accompanied by Dominican authorities, rescued a Swiss man who had been held against his will by his Dominican wife and her son for almost two years. According to the victim, identified as Hinterberger Urs, he was made captive soon after arriving into the country and marrying the woman, who he had met online. He said his captors even broke one of his legs to impede him from moving. Instead of demanding a ransom, the offenders would steal the monthly allowance sent to the man by his family in Switzerland. It is unclear how the situation was made known to the Swiss authorities. FULL ARTICLE (1)

EUROPE

5. (IRELAND, 14/03/19) Attempted kidnapping of mother and son in likely gang feud

Irish police are searching for three men, accused in the attempted kidnapping of a woman and her son in Drogheda last week. The incident took place late in the evening when both were arriving at their home in the Rathmullen area. As they were opening the door, they were confronted by three masked men who were armed with machetes. The two victims resisted the attack and managed to escape. The incident is believed to be part of an ongoing gang feud in the town. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

6. (YEMEN, 15/03/19) Saudi soldiers kidnapped in Yemen

At least two Saudi soldiers have been kidnapped in Yemen’s northern province of Jawf. The incident took place on 13 March near the city of Hazm, when their militarily patrol car was attacked by tribesmen who are members of a car-theft gang. Six Yemeni soldiers who were in the same patrol car were also kidnapped. According to a local security source, the criminals are demanding the release of fellow tribesmen from a government prison in the province of Marib. Another military source said that a coalition unit is preparing to move on the community of the Bani Nouf tribe in Jawf to release the abductees by force. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

7. (NIGERIA, 14/03/19) Two arrested over kidnaping of Egyptian in Delta State

Police in Asaba, Delta State, arrested two men in connection with the kidnapping for ransom of an Egyptian engineer. The victim, identified as Reda Hasanin, was lured into Nigeria by the leader of the gang, who pretended to be a business man wanting to award his firm a contract. The incident was reported by a concerned neighbour on 10 March. After hearing the victim’s cries for help, the informant went to investigate, with one of the suspects coming out from the property and saying it was a “family affair”. Not content with the explanation, he contacted the authorities, who mobilized to the area soon after. The police found the Egyptian unconscious, with a severe head injury, inflicted by the kidnappers after he shouted for help. The victim is recovering at a local hospital. FULL ARTICLE (1)

8. (NIGERIA, 14/03/19) Kidnapped Lebanese engineer found dead

Ahmed al-Sareji (or Sagir Ahmed), a Lebanese engineer who was kidnapped in Kano State on 12 March, has been found dead. The spokesman of the Kano State Police Command said he was found dead at a bush along Maiduguri road, near Yansango Village in Kumbotso Local Government Area, on the evening of 14 March. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Reacting on whether a ransom was demanded or not by the abductors, the Area Manager of the construction company employing the victim said: “We don’t know why they had to kill him; ask the Police.” Meanwhile, Lebanese media reported that according to the victim’s brother, a ransom had been demanded by the kidnappers, who he identified as Boko Haram militants. The brother also allegedly said the Lebanese authorities had been in contact with the victim’s employer to secure the ransom. This information has not been corroborated by any authority and the extremist group has not publicly claimed the incident. The Lebanese expatriate and two local men, his driver and a security attachment, were attacked by gunmen around 7:00am on 12 March on their way to a construction site in Kano. The driver died on the spot while the bodyguard resulted injured. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

ASIA

9. (BANGLADESH, 14/03/19) Forest official returns ransom money after kidnapping fishermen

A government forest official, who allegedly collected a ransom after kidnapping four fishermen, has reportedly returned the money. Mohsin Alam, officer-in-charge (OC) of Pushpokathi Forest Outpost of the Forest Department, is accused of leading a gang who kidnapped four fishermen on 3 March while they were fishing in the Pushpokathi area of Sundarban. The kidnappers reportedly demanded Tk 50,000 (USD 589) as ransom to set them free, but their families were only able to pay Tk 28,000 (USD 329). The men were released but were robbed of their fishing equipment on account of the rest of the money. The victims filed a complaint with the district’s Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) on 9 March, resulting in the launch of an official investigation. Upon learning on the investigation, Mohsin Alam handed himself over and repaid the ransom money to the fishermen. FULL ARTICLE