Kidnap & Ransom update – April 8, 2019
8-Apr-19

AMERICAS

1. (VENEZUELA, 06/04/19) Trinidadian kidnap victim killed in Venezuela

Trinidadian fisherman, Adrian Anthony Hospedales, who was kidnapped along with two other fishermen by Venezuelan maritime pirates on 23 January 2019, while fishing off the coast of Moruga, was killed during an operation involving Venezuelan security forces. Following their initial abduction, Hospedales’ two fishermen colleagues were reportedly released. Hospedales’ relatives were then reportedly contacted by the kidnappers who demanded a USD 30,000 ransom. Their demands were subsequently amended to include a boat filled with grocery items, medical supplies and cash. It is not believed that any of these ransom demands were however met. On 4 April, Hospedales was injured during a security operation in Tucupita, Venezuela, when an explosive detonated in his vicinity. He later died in a Tucupita hospital on 6 April and was identified via a Trinidadian fisherman identification in his possession. His family are currently in the process of recovering his body. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

2. (KUWAIT, 07/04/19) Egyptian woman kidnapped in Kuwait

Local sources reported on 7 April that an Egyptian woman working for the Ministry of Defence had been kidnapped in Kuwait. Her husband, also an Egyptian expatriate, claimed to have arrived home in Farwaniya to find his wife missing. He then reportedly received a threatening phone call from the abductors, though it is unknown if any ransom demands were made. Security forces were able to track the telephone to Mahboula, where two Egyptian men were arrested and the kidnap victim freed. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (SYRIA, 05/04/19) Italian hostage in Syria freed

On 5 April, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that 56-year-old businessman Sergio Zanotti, who was held hostage in Syria since April 2016, had been freed. Zanotti had initially been abducted in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border, from where he was transferred to Syria by unknown militants. His abductors posted at least two videos of Zanotti during his captivity, during one of which he was shown kneeling between two masked gunmen appealing to the Italian government to intervene to prevent his execution. It is unknown if any ransom payments were made to secure Zanotti’s release, with the Prime Minister’s office confirming only that the victim regained his freedom through “…a complex and delicate intelligence, investigative and diplomatic operation …” FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

4. (MOROCCO, 07/04/19) Police arrest kidnappers in Salé

Police in Salé, near the city of Rabat, arrested four suspects for their alleged involvement in a kidnapping for ransom case. On 5 April, police received a complaint from a man claiming his 22-year-old son had been kidnapped by four individuals who demanded a ransom of MAS 4,000 (USD 415) for the victim’s release. During a subsequent rescue operation, the four suspects were detained. Police also seized two knives, narcotics and mobile phones. FULL ARTICLE

5. (NIGERIA, 07/04/19) Businessman still held by kidnappers despite ransom fee paid

Businessman Alhaji Mayo, who was kidnapped in Takum, Taraba State, in early March 2019, is still being held captive by his abductors despite collecting a N100 million (USD 278,000) ransom from Mayo’s family. According to a spokesperson for the Mayo family, after paying the N100 million ransom, the kidnappers demanded another N100 million. During subsequent negotiations, the kidnappers have reportedly cut communications with Mayo’s family, leading to speculation that the victim has been killed. This followed a similar case in Taraba in December 2018, when a member of Taraba House of Assembly was kidnapped and killed despite the payment of a N28 million (USD 78,000) ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

6. (NIGERIA, 05/04/19) Spike of kidnapping incidents on the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway

On 1 April 2019 alone, there were a reported 37 kidnappings along the Kaduna to Abuja Expressway, a roadway known as a hotbed of bandit activity. In response, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu announced the implementation of an anti-crime campaign named ‘Operation Puff-Arder’. This is intended to curb the high kidnapping rate along roadways linking Kaduna to Abuja, and is set to be expanded to Kogi, Niger, Zamfara and Katsina states. FULL ARTICLE (1)

7. (UGANDA, 07/04/19) American tourist freed after ransom paid

Following the abduction of an American tourist, Kimberley Sue Endicott, and her Ugandan driver, Jean Paul, by four gunmen in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park on the evening on 2 April, the pair have been reportedly released unharmed. According to a spokesperson from Wild Frontiers Safaris, the victims were returned once a ransom payment was made, however the precise value of the payment is unknown. It was however reported the kidnappers had used Endecott’s mobile phone to demand a USD 500,000 ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1)

ASIA

8. (INDIA, 06/04/19) Arrest of four kidnappers in Bhavnagar

On 6 April, police arrested four individuals involved in the kidnapping of a 16-year-old male the previous day during a festival in Rasala Camp, in the city of Bhavnagar, Gujarat State. The victim is the son of wealthy businessman. The suspects reportedly demanded a rs 1 crore (USD 144,000) ransom from the abductee’s family, though were thwarted by a police operation which tracked their location through the victim’s mobile phone. When the police began surveying the area the following day, the kidnappers panicked and released the victim, though he was able to identify the perpetrators and they were arrested. FULL ARTICLE

9. (PHILIPPINES, 06/04/19) Three hostages escape Abu Sayyaf group, one drowned

Two Indonesians and a Malaysian separately escaped from Islamic State-linked group Abu Sayyaf captivity on Simusa island in southern Sulu province, southern Philippines, last week. During the escape however, in which Philippine marines were conducting a rescue operation, one of the Indonesian victims drowned while the Malaysian victim was shot in the back, and is now in critical condition in hospital. The third Indonesian victim was rescued unharmed. The three hostages were kidnapped off Malaysia’s Sabah state on Borneo Island in December 2019 and taken by speedboat to Sulu. Remaining Abu Sayyaf captives include a Dutchman kidnapped in 2012 and two Filipinos. Security operations remain ongoing. FULL ARTICLE (1)