Kidnap & Ransom update August 29, 2018
29-Aug-18

AMERICAS

1. (CHILE, 28/08/18) Man arrested for kidnapping Haitian woman

A 24 year-old man was arrested on 28 August in the community of Cerro Navia, Santiago Province, for the crimes of kidnapping and illegal possession of a firearm. A relative of the suspect called the police after he noticed that the man was holding a foreign woman inside his room, after hearing the victim’s cries for help. According to information provided by the police, the detainee intercepted the Haitian national in the early hours of the same day, and after threatening her with a firearm, proceeded to take her to his home. It is not clear if the individual had the intention of demanding a ransom for the victim. The man has a criminal record. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

2. (LIBYA, 28/08/18) Romanian government reviews authenticity of video showing Romanian citizen kidnapped in Libya

A video has been posted on social media showing for the first time a Romanian national kidnapped in July in Libya. The Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) is currently conducting checks on the authenticity of the video, which shows the Romanian engineer appealing to the competent government authorities and corporations to start negotiations with the kidnappers. The Romanian is seen together with another kidnap victim, who reads a message in Arabic, having behind them two armed men with their faces covered. The two hostage takers shown in the video say they are not terrorists and do not intend to demand money for the release of the hostages. That the goal of the kidnapping was to draw the attention of the Libyan authorities to the need for an early solution of the crisis in the country. The men however warn that if their appeal is not heard, they will sell the hostage to terrorists. The Romanian national, who has not been publicity identified, was kidnapped along with three other engineers from the al-Sharara oilfield in Ubari, southern Libya, on 14 July. The nationality of the other hostages has not been specified, but it is believed they are Libyan nationals. The oil company reported that two of the kidnapped engineers had been released on the same day. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (DRC, 28/08/18) Journalist kidnaped for ransom by armed men in North Kivu

According to various testimonies collected by NGO Journalist in Danger (JED), Emmanuel Tusenge Sebazungu, director of Radio Umudiho FM, was kidnapped by a group of armed men in broad daylight on 26 August. The incident took place on the road between the villages Gakoro and Jomba as he was returning from field work in the area. The journalist was in the company of his brother, who was violently beaten and abandoned in critical condition before the kidnappers took the journalist into the forest. The kidnappers reportedly contacted both Tusenge’s family and the radio station after two days, demanding an undisclosed ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1)

4. (SOUTH AFRICA, 28/08/18) Dutch jihadist allegedly murdered British couple in South Africa
According to Dutch media, a Dutch jihadist is suspected of being involved in the deadly kidnapping of a British couple in South Africa and of contacting a top Islamic State group official. The 29-year-old man, only identified as “Mohammed G.”, briefly appeared in the Rotterdam District Court where he was accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation, trying to buy bitcoins using Rachel Saunders’ credit card details, and having contact with the highest ranking IS spokesman in Africa. Prosecutors said Mohammed G. knew two of the Saunders’ kidnappers and also worked with a Somali-based suspect. The group reportedly wanted to raise funds to set up an IS training camp in Somalia and buy weapons. The four suspects also controlled social media accounts and advised prospective jihadists wanting to travel to Libya. Earlier this year, the bodies of renowned British botanists Rachel Saunders and her husband Rodney Saunders were discovered after they went missing during a trip to look for rare seeds in KwaZulu-Natal. The two are believed to have been kidnapped by suspected jihadists, who raised an IS flag where the Saunders disappeared on 12 February. FULL ARTICLE

5. (NIGERIA, 28/08/18) Hostages plead for help in newly released media
In an audio obtained by Nigerian journalist Ahmad Salkida, a nurse and two midwives abducted by the Islamic State-linked and Boko Haram offshoot Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) on 1 March, are allegedly heard begging President Muhammadu Buhari to do whatever he can do to save them. In the recording, the alleged victims also say that this is the last of their captors’ warnings, after which they will be “taking action”. The audio was reportedly produced in mid-August. Meanwhile, in another audio obtained by local media, purportedly recorded by a Christian schoolgirl kidnapped by ISWA in Dapchi, the hostage makes a plea to the Nigerian government to work toward her freedom. If verified, the recording would be first proof of life of the girl since her kidnapping along over 100 other schoolgirls in February 2018. FULL ARTICLE (1)

6. (EGYPT, 29/08/18) University student kidnapped for ransom in New Cairo

The New Cairo Prosecution is investigating the kidnapping for ransom of a student from the Canadian University. The prosecution has ordered the collection of evidence from surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the scene and asked for prompt police investigations. The incident was reported to the Al-Shorouk police station by the father of the victim, who said he received a call from the kidnappers demanding a ransom of USD 600,000 for his son’s release. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

7. (MONGOLIA, 28/08/18) Mongolia-based Gülenist educator allegedly once again in danger of abduction by Turkey

Veysel Akçay, a Mongolia-based Turkish educator with links to Turkey’s Gülen group, has allegedly called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) for urgent action against an “imminent risk” of abduction by the Turkish government. Mr. Akçay, the general director of Turkish schools in Mongolia, was once abducted by the agents of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) on 27 July 2018, in Ulan Bator. Soon after, a private jet reportedly carrying several MİT agents, landed at Chinggis Khaan International Airport. However, the Vice Minister of Road and Transport Development of Mongolia, tweeted later the same day without the Turkish national in it. According to Akçay’s relatives, the Turkish government is trying to force Mongolia to allow the “transfer” of all Gülenists in the country, but despite Turkey’s heavy pressure, the Mongolian government has so far refused to give in. For the last two years, Mongolia has reportedly been visited by many Turkish diplomats on this matter, with the Turkish government allegedly offering its Mongolian counterparts USD 350 million as “compensation”, the relatives affirm. FULL ARTICLE