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Kidnap & Ransom update – December 16, 2018


1. (COLOMBIA, 14/12/18) Canadian professor missing, kidnapping not ruled out

Canadian academic of Turkish origin Ramazam Gencay has been reported missing since 6 December. Gencay, who was in Medellin to participate in a series of seminaries, was last seen in the company of a woman, coming out from a night club located in the city’s red district, at about 10:30 pm of that day. It is reported that soon after his disappearance the credit limit of his bank cards was reached. While the family has not yet received a ransom demand, a kidnapping cannot be discarded. Police sources have also said it is possible the case could be linked to drugs. Relatives of the victim and authorities are requesting information that could lead to the academic’s location. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (COLOMBIA, 14/12/18) Seven arrested, suspected of kidnapping and selling businesswoman

A Colombian judge indicted seven members of criminal organisation Los Hechiceros, accused of kidnapping businesswoman Diana Toro Vélez on 27 September, in the locality of Amagá, Antioquia department. According to the prosecution, the victim was taken away on her own vehicle and on the same day, handed over to a unit of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Reportedly, Los Hechiceros were paid COP 48 million (USD 15,000) in exchange for the victim. Just 10 days after kidnapping Vélez, the group kidnapped another woman in the area; however, she managed to escape by jumping out of the car. The victim in this case reported the incident to the police, leading to the arrest of the criminals. Vélez remains missing. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (BOLIVIA, 16/12/18) Body of kidnapped man found buried in illegal grave

The director of the Special Forces of the Bolivian police, Gonzalo Medina, confirmed that the corpse found at an illegal grave in an isolated area of the city of Montero, Santa Cruz department, belongs to kidnap victim Yery Willy Pedraza Rivero. The body was found buried standing and had several bullet wounds to the head. The authorities said the victim was killed on the same day he was filmed by his captors. The video had been sent to his relatives to pressure them to pay the ransom. Through this tactic, the criminals managed to collect two payments of USD 40,000 from the victim’s relatives, who were unaware of the man’s fate. Pedraza was kidnapped on 22 October by a gang of Bolivians and Brazilians, suspected to be members of a dangerous mafia network. Based on the level of violence observed in the case, the authorities believe the incident was linked to accounts settlement over drugs or other criminal activities. FULL ARTICLE (1)


4. (MADAGASCAR, 13/12/18) Tunisian kidnapped in Madagascar is released

The Tunisian national who was kidnapped in Antananarivo has been released safe, thanks to the intervention of the Tunisian diplomatic authorities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Reportedly, as soon as he learn on the incident, the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khemaies Jhinaoui, gave instructions to the relevant departments of the Ministry and the Tunisian Embassy in Addis Ababa to act as quickly as possible and in total secrecy so as not to harm the negotiations established to free the hostages. The Tunisian embassy to Addis Ababa then sent a special envoy to Madagascar, who immediately coordinated with the Malagasy authorities and made contact with the family of the Indian businessman who was taken on the same event. No more details were released on the case. Sofiène Omrani was kidnapped on 8 December alongside his employer, French national of Indian origin Malik Karmaly, owner and CEO of Habibo Group. It is reported that Omrani had recently relocated to Madagascar from Cameroon to take his position as general manager of Habibo Group. In the context of this incident, the Tunisian special diplomatic envoy met on 12 December with the Tunisian community in Madagascar to call for vigilance, particularly during the election campaign in the country. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (MALAWI, 14/12/18) Seven Pakistanis arrested for kidnapping businessman’s son

Malawi police have arrested seven Pakistani nationals for kidnapping the son of a wealthy Malawian businessman of Pakistani origin. The boy aged 5 was abducted from his home in Limbe on 11 December. His father, Mohammed Shail, reported the incident to police. Following investigations, the boy was found at a Mosque in the city of Blantyre. Investigations are still underway to arrest more suspects in connection with the case. FULL ARTICLE (1)


6. (INDIA, 13/12/18) Boy abducted in India, rescued from Nepal

A seven-year-old Indian boy, who was kidnapped from Bihar last week, has been rescued from Nepal. Three people, including a local Nepalese political leader, have been arrested in connection with his abduction. Mahafuj Alam was rescued by Nepalese police from a hotel in the Damak area of Kathmandu on 11 December. Preliminary investigations showed that two unidentified Indian nationals kidnapped the boy from his uncle’s house in Bihar on 6 December and then took him to Gaurgunj, Nepal, where he was handed over to the arrested. The abductors had demanded Rs 1.5 million (almost USD 21,000) for Alam’s safe release and threatened to kill him if this was not paid. FULL ARTICLE (1)