Kidnap & Ransom update August 13, 2018
13-Aug-18

AMERICAS

1. (COLOMBIA, 12/08/18) Mayor’s daughter kidnapped in Cali rescued
Following the abduction of the mayor of Sipí’s daughter in Cali on 4 August, security forces succeeded in rescuing the victim in the El Vallado neighbourhood of the city on 11 August. Police were able to locate the abductee by triangulating calls from the suspects, who officials confirmed were a criminal gang of Haitians specialising in kidnapping, drug trafficking and extortion. Cali Police have been engaged in longstanding operations against this group, named ‘Los Haitianos’, and have so far reportedly apprehended 30 of its members. During the rescue operation, the authorities detained two of the kidnappers and seized a revolver. It was also announced that the perpetrators established contact with the victim’s father and demanded a ransom payment of 800 million pesos (USD 272,840) for her release. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (COLOMBIA, 10/08/18) ELN issues statement regarding kidnap victims
The Marxist ELN rebel group is currently holding nine people captive, including four soldiers, three police officers and two civilian contractors. In a statement released on 10 August, ELN announced that it was working with the Colombian government and the International Committee of the Red Cross to liberate the abductees, who were kidnapped last week in western Choco province and eastern Arauca province. ELN also stated that the army should not attempt to rescue the victims by force. Colombian President Ivan Duque responded that if the ELN wants to truly negotiate a peace settlement and disarm, then it should free those kidnapped immediately. (FULL ARTICLE) (1)

3. (MEXICO, 10/08/18) Authorities rescue kidnapped petrol station owner in Michoacán
A petrol station owner from the municipality of Contepec, who was kidnapped on 27 July, was rescued by security forces in Michoacán. The victim was taken to a safe house in the rural area between the municipalities of Senguio and Contepec. Authorities became aware of the incident when alerted by family members of the victim, who paid the perpetrators a ransom of 280,000 pesos (USD 14,520), but did not receive the abductee. Instead, the criminal gang increased the ransom demand to 10 million pesos (USD 518,585). After investigation, security forces located the victim and successfully freed him. Though unharmed, he was severely malnourished and in need of hospital treatment. According to local sources, there have so far been 17 kidnappings reported this year in Michoacán. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

4. (LIBYA, 10/08/18) Gunmen kidnap two people from Zizau in southwest Libya
On 10 August, unidentified gunmen kidnapped two people from a petrol station in the southwest town of Zizau, located in Murzuq district. A relative of the victims claimed that the kidnappers have subsequently demanded a ransom of 250,000 dinars (USD 208) for their release. The abductees were reportedly taken to an unknown location in the direction of Murzuq. Local sources alleged that the perpetrators have been involved in a personal dispute with the victims. (FULL ARTICLE)

5. (NIGERIA, 9/08/18) Bus loaded with passengers kidnapped in Rivers State
Unknown gunmen diverted a commercial 18-seater bus on 9 August, with all its passengers, into a forest at the Omurelu-EleleOwerri road axis in Rivers State. The bus was travelling from Owerri, in Imo State to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, when heavily armed suspected kidnappers ambushed it. The following day, Nigerian security forces located the bus and rescued eight of the victims. Six of the abductees however remain missing, while two were found dead. Search operations to locate the remaining kidnap victims are ongoing. FULL ARTICLE

6. (SOMALIA, 9/08/18) Five aid workers kidnapped in southern Somalia
On 9 August, suspected Al-Shabaab militants kidnapped five Somali Red Crescent aid workers in Somalia’s southwestern Bay region, in a village on the outskirts of Baidoa City. According to local media, the kidnapped aid workers include three men and two women. Thus far, the Somali Red Crescent is yet to comment on the incident. The Director of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency however confirmed that efforts are underway to locate the kidnap victims. Abductions against humanitarian workers are commonplace in the Horn of Africa, and have increased in recent years in Somalia, particularly by militant groups such as Al-Shabaab. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

ASIA

7. (CAMBODIA, 11/08/18) Taiwanese men charged over kidnapping of Taiwanese businessman in Phnom Penh
On 11 August, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged two Taiwanese men over the abduction, assault and attempted extortion of a Taiwanese businessman who reportedly owed them USD 220,000 in gambling debts. They were arrested on 9 August, following a complaint filed by the 36-year-old victim, who told police he was unlawfully confined in an apartment in Meanchey district, where the suspects attempted to extort the money owed to them by assaulting him. The suspects also contacted the victim’s family in an attempt to demand the funds as a ransom payment, but were unsuccessful. The Taiwanese businessman had been reportedly lured to a casino by four suspects whereupon he racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Two of the suspects have been arrested, while the remaining two are at large. FULL ARTICLE

8. (MALAYSIA, 10/08/18) Possible kidnap-for-ransom attempt foiled in Lahad Datu
On 10 August, Malaysian security forces thwarted a suspected kidnap-for-ransom attempt in waters off Lahad Datu’s Tambisan area. An armed gang of at least 10 Philippines-based kidnappers was deterred from an attempted attack against a tugboat transporting palm oil towards Kuantan, when upon responding to the crew’s distress call, an Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) patrol boat approached the scene. The suspected kidnappers subsequently fled towards international waters. None of the tugboat’s crew was harmed or abducted during the incident, and no cargo was lost. FULL ARTICLE

9. (PHILIPPINES, 10/08/18) Two revenue officials abducted and robbed in Manila
Two revenue officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) were abducted and subsequently released in Manila following a reported “ransom” payment. Though full details of both incidents have yet to be disclosed by official channels, local sources reported that both men were separately abducted on their way home, and at gunpoint forced to empty their home safety boxes sometime last week. It is believed that between P50 million and P100 million (between USD 937,000 and USD 1.874 million) was taken from the officials as a ‘ransom’ before either of them was released. These figures have not however been confirmed officially. FULL ARTICLE