Kidnap & Ransom update August 5, 2018
6-Aug-18

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 01/08/18) Governor’s cousin released after 41 days in captivity in Tamaulipas
After being held for 41 days, Eduardo Monge Castillo, administrative manager of the Municipal Water Commission (Comapa) of Tampico and cousin of the current governor of Tamaulipas State, Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, was released on 1 August. Monge was kidnapped along with his bodyguard on 21 June as he was leaving his home in the Guadalupe neighborhood of Tampico city. He was released unharmed in a locality of Veracruz State, 90 minutes from the city of Tampico. It is unknown if a ransom was paid for the release of the Comapa official, or if it was the result of a security operation. Local press reports affirm Monge was released with a banner containing a warning from an organized crime group against the governor. The fate of Monge’s bodyguard is unascertained. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (COLOMBIA, 03/08/18) Rancher rescued after four months in captivity
After almost four months in captivity, cattle rancher and farmer Juan Salazar was freed on 2 August. According to sources in the Colombian military police, the victim was left abandoned by his captors in a village in the municipality of Morales, Bolívar department. The authorities affirm the release took place as a result of police pressure. Salazar was kidnapped on 11 April from his farm, located on the border between Puerto Wilches in Norte de Santander department, and Aguachica, Cesar department. The farmer was in the company of a group of people when the armed men took him away from his home. The kidnappers had reportedly demanded a ransom of COP 1.5 billion (over half million American dollars) for his release. According to the Colombian authorities, the kidnappers belong to a “common criminal group”. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

3. (LIBYA, 01/08/18) Armed men kidnap four local journalists
A group of armed men kidnapped four local journalists in Libya in an operation believed to be an attempt to avert media’s attention from the issues of illegal migration and human smuggling in the country. The four journalists, working for Reuters and Agence-France Presse (AFP), were reportedly detained by forces of the presidential council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) at the Abu Sitta base in Tripoli, according to the Libyan Center for Freedom of Press (LCFP). The detained journalists have been identified as Hani Amara and Ahmed Al-Emmami from Reuters and Mahmoud and Hamza Terkiya from AFP. The Secretary-General of the Arab Organization of Human Rights, Abdel Moneim al-Hurr, revealed that preliminary information indicated that the abduction of journalists was either done by members of the Special Deterrence Force (SDF) or al-Nawasi Brigade, both of which are linked to the GNA Interior Ministry. Meanwhile in Sabha, journalist Musa Abdul Kareem was kidnapped on 31 July and found dead later on the same day. Reportedly, Abdul Kareem and his colleagues had regularly been threatened while reporting in the city. Just three weeks before his death, Kareem had co-authored an article detailing kidnappings and robberies in the city. Local media reports affirm that more than 18 journalists have been killed and many others kidnapped since the onset of the revolution in February 2011. FULL ARTICLE (1)

4. (CAR, 01/08/18) Russian journalists kidnapped and killed in Central African Republic
Multi-awarded Russian journalists Orkhan Jemal, Kirill Radchenko and Aleksander Rastorguev were killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) on 30 July, allegedly while covering a story on the activities of Russian private military company Wagner Group. It is reported that the film crew was stopped at a checkpoint by at least 10 armed men, suspected to be Seleka militants, when they were travelling from the capital city, Bangui, to the town of Bambari. The attackers were described as men who were wearing turbans and spoke only in Arabic. The bodies were found not far from the city of Sibut, 300 km north of Bangui. According to media reports, Radchenko was killed on the spot, while Jemal and Rastorguev were kidnaped, tortured and interrogated before being killed. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian Embassy in the Central African Republic was not informed of the journalists’ arrival into the country, and their editors said that they did not obtain official accreditation with local authorities before traveling to the country. The motives of the crime are not yet known. While local authorities affirm that the killings were the result of a roadside robbery, other sources affirm the crime was related to their work. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2) (3)

5. (GHANA, 04/08/18) Russians processed in Accra for kidnapping
Two Russian nationals, who have been accused of kidnapping two persons in East Legon, wider Accra, and holding them hostage for several months, have appeared before an Accra Circuit Court. Businessman Musa Musaev, and his driver, Rizakhan Suntasov, have been accused of kidnapping two countrymen. The victims, identified as Ramasui Kafarov and Anen Kafarov, the Managing Director and an employee of Geo-Professionals Services Limited, were kidnapped on 8 August 2017 and held until April 2018. The prosecution said the victims were kept at different locations throughout their captivity, and subjected to severe beatings that resulted in injuries. It is stated that the accused demanded USD18 million for the release of the victims. In October 2017, one of the hostages was forced to execute a Power of Attorney to a third person, to dispose of all his properties comprising his business, six luxury vehicles, and a jewelry shop. The victims managed to escape on 20 April 2018 and sought assistance from the Russian authorities at the Embassy in Accra, who helped them file a police report. The accused were arrested on 17 July. FULL ARTICLE

6. (LIBYA, 04/08/18) President Duterte to send navy frigate to Libyan waters to rescue abducted Filipino nationals
Following the publishing of a hostage video showing three Filipinos and a South Korean kidnapped in Libya, the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, said he might send the navy’s most modern frigate to waters off Libya’s coast in a bid to rescue the victims. The Philippines Navy confirmed the statement, saying they were planning the appropriate naval response. These declarations also follow South Korea’s decision to redirect a vessel taking part in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, to help in the release of the four men. Meanwhile, Philippine authorities said the abduction has come to reinforce the Philippines’ existing ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Libya. A spokesman for the Philippine government said that it is believed the abducted technicians may have entered Libya with working visas obtained from a third country, or maybe they had been in the country before the ban had come into force and later refused repatriation in 2014. FULL ARTICLE (1)

ASIA

7. (MALAYSIA, 02/08/18) Kidnapped Indian migrant rescued near Kuala Lumpur
An Indian migrant who was being held hostage by a gang of human traffickers near Kuala Lumpur, was rescued by Malaysian police on 28 July. Three Pakistani nationals were arrested during the operation. It is reported the gang had demanded a ransom of Rs 25 lakh (USD 36,500) from the victim’s family. Reportedly, the victim wanted to settle down in Australia and had contacted some agents in India who promised to send him there via Thailand and Malaysia for Rs 8.5 lakh (USD 12,500). The agents were paid Rs 2 lakh (USD 3,000) by the migrant’s family, who promised to pay the rest after receiving information about his safe landing in Australia. The victim reached Malaysia on 19 July, following which the agents held him hostage and demanded him to call his family and tell them to pay the remaining amount. According to the authorities, this was not an isolated case and the gang had lured and kidnapped for ransom a number of young people in the same fashion. Malaysian authorities said they are in cooperation with their Indian counterparts to arrest the agents in India. FULL ARTICLE