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Kidnap & Ransom update – April 12, 2019


1. (MEXICO, 10/04/19) 143 kidnapped Hondurans rescued by Mexican security forces

Officials announced on 10 April, that Mexican security forces rescued a group of 143 Hondurans, including 71 minors, who had been kidnapped in the southern state of Veracruz. They were reportedly being held in Naranjos, approximately 350km from Mexico City, with the kidnappers demanding up to USD 10,000 in ransom fees. Thousands of migrants from Central America travelling north each year are targeted by criminal gangs operating in Mexico. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (MEXICO, 10/04/19) Kidnap victim rescued in San Cristobal de las Casas

A 60-year-old businesswoman was rescued in San Cristobal de las Casas following 24 hours in captivity. The victim had originally been kidnapped on the Pujiltic (Venustiano Carranza) to Las Rosas road, and then transported to a house in the San Ramon neighbourhood. Through a telephone call and video sent to the victim’s family, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 2 million pesos (USD 106,482) to secure the abductee’s release. During the rescue operation, police arrested two men and woman aged between 23 and 30. FULL ARTICLE


3. (SPAIN, 11/04/19) Spanish authorities dismantle kidnapping gang

On 11 April, the Spanish authorities announced the dismantling of a kidnapping gang operating between Spain and Morocco, who were involved in the abduction and ransoming of Moroccan minors. The unaccompanied minors were originally smuggled to Spain by traffickers, who were paid varying amounts by the children’s parents to gain them entry to Europe. Once in Spain however, the criminal network organising the scheme, who had links with the Moroccan traffickers, would contact the parents and demand USD 520 for the release of their child, threatening to kill them or sell their organs on the black market. Spanish police arrested three of the criminal network in Almeria, one in Cadiz, one in La Linea and another in Jerez de la Frontera. The original investigation was launched in the summer of 2018 when a woman of Moroccan origin, living in Spain, discovered three Moroccan minors in Granada in deplorable conditions. FULL ARTICLE (1)


4. (KENYA, 12/04/19) Cuban doctors kidnapped in northern Kenya

On 12 April, suspected Islamic extremists kidnapped two Cuban doctors in Kenya’s northern county of Mandera. During the ambush operation, which occurred on the road as they headed to work, the perpetrators also killed the doctors’ bodyguard. The attack was staged in the morning, approximately 0900hrs local time, and involved armed assailants in two cars, which they used to block the vehicle transporting the doctors. The militants then opened fire, killing one bodyguard, before whisking the abductees away to an unknown location. Another bodyguard managed to escape. The two doctors have been identified as Dr. Assel Herera Correa, a general physician, and Dr. Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon. They were part of an exchange programme that saw 100 Cuban doctors brought to Kenya and 50 travel from Kenya to Cuba for specialised training. It is currently unclear if the victims were harmed during the ambush. Kenyan Defence Forces have launched an operation to locate the two doctors being held hostage. Local media sources claimed the group behind the attack was Somali-based Islamist group, Al Shabab, and that it is likely the victims were transferred across the border into Somalia. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

5. (NIGERIA, 9/04/19) Lebanese construction worker kidnapped in Nigeria

On the morning of 9 April, unidentified gunmen abducted a male Lebanese construction worker in the northern city of Kano. During the attack, one man, Alphonsus Ahmed, was shot and died on his way to hospital, and another, Abdullahi Mohammed, was injured by a bullet. The Lebanese construction worker is reportedly attached to the Triacta construction company, though further details of his identity are yet to be disclosed. Lebanese officials have claimed that the kidnappers are in contact with Triacta though it is so far unknown if any ransom demands have been issued. It has also not been confirmed which group was behind the incident, though some sources allege the victims were caught up in a land dispute. FULL ARTICLE (1)

6. (NIGERIA, 11/04/19) Politician’s son freed after ransom met

Yusuf Musa Sokodabo, son of a top politician in the Abaji Area Council, was freed after a ransom of N1.2 million (USD 3,331) was paid to his kidnappers to secure his release. The victim had been previously kidnapped from his home in Naharati on the early morning of 7 April. A family member revealed that the initial ransom demand from the kidnappers stood at N5 million (USD 14,000), though after negotiations this was decreased to N1.2 million. The victim was subsequently released unharmed in a forest in the outskirts of Abaji town on 11 April. FULL ARTICLE

7. (NIGERIA, 10/04/19) Lagos State Fire Service Director released after ransom paid

Lagos State Fire Service Director, Rasaki Musibau, was kidnapped by criminal bandits along with six other motorists along the Epe-Itokin road in Ikorodu on the evening of 6 April. The group were reportedly released after an undisclosed ransom payment was made on the evening of 9 April. Some local sources have alleged that the total ransom paid equated to approximately N50 million (USD 139,000), though this has not been officially confirmed. FULL ARTICLE


8. (AFGHANISTAN, 11/04/19) Taliban kidnap 60 truck drivers

On 11 April, Taliban militants were reported to have kidnapped 60 truck drivers in northern Afghanistan’s Samanghan province. According to local officials, the incident occurred on a road linking Dara-e-Suf district of Samangan province to the neighbouring Balkh’s provincial capital, Mazar-e-Sharif city. The truck drivers were then taken to an unknown location. It was also reported that truck drivers were subjected to a monthly tax by the Taliban, who threatened to punish them if they failed to pay. Police have launched an operation to locate the victims. FULL ARTICLE (1)

9. (MYANMAR, 11/04/19) Seven civilians kidnapped by rebels

On the evening of 9 April, approximately 200 rebels of the Arakan Army rebel group staged an attack against a police installation located in the town of Mrauk-U, in the west of the country. During the raid, the militants killed two police officers and a civilian. They also abducted seven civilians. The rebel group claim to represent the Rakhine ethnic minority, who seek autonomy for the western state of Rakhine. In recent months, there has been an upsurge in fighting between the Arakan Army and Myanmar security forces, prompting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to express concern over an uptick in civilian casualties in the region. FULL ARTICLE (1)

10. (PHILIPPINES, 10/04/19) Chinese man escapes from his abductors

A Chinese national escaped from his abductors in Parañaque City on the afternoon of 10 April. He had been held captive for two days in a condominium unit at Multinational Village in Moonwalk, having been illegally detained for being unable to pay a debt to casino financiers at a casino hotel in Barangay Tambo. The kidnappers are also believed to be Chinese nationals. FULL ARTICLE (1)