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Kidnap & Ransom update – April 16, 2019


1. (MEXICO, 15/04/19) Red Cross temporarily suspended services in Salamanca after kidnapping

The Mexican Red Cross temporarily suspended its operations in the central city of Salamanca after a man with bullet wounds was abducted from one of its ambulances by gunmen on 13 April. Ambulance services however resumed the following day. This incident followed the execution of a woman with gunshot wounds inside an ambulance in Guerrero state in early April. Levels of violence have recently been heightened in Salamanca due to clashing between two viral fuel theft gangs operating in the area, due to Salamanca’s gasoline refinery. FULL ARTICLE</p>

2. (MEXICO, 15/04/19) Local official found dead after ransom not received

Following his abduction from his private business in Atoyac, Mexico City, on 27 March, the substitute Municipal President of Atoyac, Lauro Ávila Mena, was found dead on 15 April. His corpse was found with bullet holes near the railway line in Colonia La Lagunilla. He was abducted by armed men outside of his privately owned grocery store and taken to an unknown location, from where the kidnappers demanded a 4 million peso (USD 212,000) ransom for his release. Despite family members negotiating with the perpetrators, they executed Mena when no ransom was forthcoming. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)


3. (SYRIA, 15/04/19) New Zealand government details mission to rescue IS captive

The New Zealand government has released details of operations currently being conducted to rescue nurse Louisa Akavi, involving the deployment of specialist commando units. Akavi was taken hostage by Islamic State (IS) militants in northwest Syria in October 2013. She was one of seven Red Cross workers kidnapped whilst travelling in a four-vehicle convoy travelling to Damascus from Idlib, when IS gunmen blocked the road and opened fire. Since the fall of IS in Syria, Akavi’s whereabouts are unknown. Her identity had been kept secret until recently, with the International Red Cross Committee (IRCC) working with the New York times to publish Akavi’s identity and nationality in the hope it will assist in locating her. IS reportedly initially demanded a USD 1.8 million ransom for Akavi’s release, which was subsequently increased to USD 33.4 million, though lowered to USD 8.3 million – the amount wanted for other western captives by the group. Like the US and UK, New Zealand has a strict policy of not paying ransoms for hostages. FULL ARTICLE (1)


4. (MOROCCO, 13/04/19) Businessman kidnapped and robbed near Tangier

A Tangier businessman was express kidnapped after arranging to conduct a foreign exchange deal with acquaintances. Upon travelling to a predetermined location near Larache, the victim was accosted by a gang armed with knives and taken to an isolated area. He was then restrained and robbed of 600,000 dirhams (USD 63,000) – money intended for the exchange deal. The perpetrators then fled the scene, leaving the victim unharmed. The victim was able to identify the leader of the gang, who is reportedly wanted on a number of criminal charges in Morocco. FULL ARTICLE

5. (NIGERIA, 14/04/19) Three National Assembly policemen kidnapped near Abuja

Gunmen have abducted three policemen attached to the national assembly in the Gwalluyi community, a few kilometres from their homes at Shere, a rural area near Maitama, Abuja. The incident occurred on the evening of 8 April, when the policemen were returning from a funeral. The assailants attacked the vehicle transporting the officers with small arms fire on the road leading to Shere Community, though no reported injuries were received. One of the victims however managed to escape shortly after the abduction. It was reported by local sources on 13 April that the kidnappers have demanded a N10 million (USD 28,000) ransom for the release of the remaining two victims. Police investigations are currently underway. FULL ARTICLE

6. (NIGERIA, 14/04/19) Ransom increased for abducted lawyer

A Taraba lawyer, Obadiah Yaburu, who was abducted along with his driver in Kofan Amadu along the Wukari to Takum road, has been in captivity for approximately two weeks. The abductors reportedly contacted the victim’s family to demand a ransom of N10 million (USD 28,000). During negotiations, family members offered to pay N1.5 million (USD 4,200). This was however rejected and the ransom increased to N15 million (USD 42,000), with the kidnappers believing they can raise more money from lawyer’s family. The Wukari to Takum roadway has recently become notorious for banditry and kidnapping incidents. FULL ARTICLE

7. (NIGERIA, 15/04/19) Three Urhobo Chiefs kidnapped

A convoy of two vehicles transporting eight prominent Urhobo Chiefs was accosted by armed bandits near Ugbogui Village in Edo State. The road on which they were travelling was blocked, with the gunmen shooting intimidatory gunfire into the air and robbing the travelers of their possessions. Five of the chieftains managed to escape into the nearby bush, though the remaining three were allegedly abducted. The kidnappers, suspected to be hiding in Ugbogui forest, later called relations of the victims and demanded a N60 million (USD 166,500) ransom for their release. Local police confirmed the incident on 15 April, and stated it was the third kidnapping in the area that day before 1400hrs. An investigation has been launched to locate and rescue the missing chiefs. FULL ARTICLE


8. (INDIA, 15/04/19) Schoolboy kidnapped for ransom near Baradari

On the afternoon of 13 April, a seven-year-old schoolboy was kidnapped whilst playing outside his home in the Rohlitola locality. He had reportedly been approached by a neighbour who offered him a drink. Upon taking the drink, the boy lost consciousness and later awoke restrained in an unknown location. The kidnappers subsequently called the victim’s mother and demanded a ransom of Rs 25 lakh (USD 36,000) for his release. Following the launch of a police investigation, the kidnappers released the boy unharmed 100 meters from his house. The victim’s neighbour was arrested for his suspected involvement in the abduction, along with a few other suspected perpetrators.FULL ARTICLE

9. (PHILIPPINES, 14/04/19) Chinese man escaped from abductors in Kawit

A 27-year-old Chinese man was kidnapped from a casino in Pasay City on 14 April after he was unable to pay the money he owed the suspected loan sharks. The suspects restrained the victim and took him to Barangay San Sebastian, demanding P200,000 (USD 4,000) in exchange for his freedom. The abductee however managed to escape through a window and contact police. One Chinese national was subsequently arrested for their involvement in the crime, while a manhunt for the other suspects remains ongoing. FULL ARTICLE