Kidnap & Ransom update – December 3, 2018
3-Dec-18

AMERICAS

1. (TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, 02/12/18) Kidnapped family rescued by police

After being kid­napped and held hostage in the forest for approximate­ly 33 hours, the Sooknanan family was rescued by police in Barrackpore on 2 December. The victims were identified as Aaron Sooknanan; his wife and her cousin, both Venezuelan nationals; and his two kids. The women were said to have been se­vere­ly as­sault­ed by the kid­nap­pers. Two suspects were arrested during the operation. Authorities are yet to determine the motive for the kidnapping. The victims were abducted after a group of armed men broke in to their home in Jhulai Trace and forced them into a vehicle, at about 2 am on 1 December. It is be­lieved the kid­nap­pers got word that the po­lice were clos­ing in on their lo­ca­tion, and afraid, left the fam­i­ly be­hind. After walking several hundred kilometers, the family was found by the police. FULL ARTICLE

2. (COSTA RICA, 28/11/18) American woman possibly kidnapped in Costa Rica

Tampa resident Carla Stefaniak has been missing for almost a week, after going on holidays to Costa Rica with her sister-in-law. The last time she was seen was on 27 November, when she dropped her sister-in-law to the airport. She was supposed to follow the next day. Her family is convinced she was abducted and her brother has flown to the country to help Carla’s search. Authorities have yet to release any information about the investigation. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

3. (LEBANON, 29/11/18) Lebanese army rescue 27 abducted Syrians

According to an official statement on 29 November, units of the Lebanese army rescued 27 kidnapped Syrian nationals and arrested their abductors during a security operation in the west of the Beqaa Valley. The raid was carried out after the military received intelligence about the hostages, who were kept at a farm in the outskirts of Baalul settlement. The service men arrested three Lebanese nationals, who had demanded a ransom for the release of the Syrians. FULL ARTICLE

4. (SYRIA, 02/12/18) Argentinean woman leaves Syria after kidnapping ordeal

A 54-year-old Argentinean woman, who was lured into Syria two years ago by a marriage promise, was finally on her way home on 1 December, a Syrian rebel official said. In 2016, History teacher Nancy Roxana Papa accepted the invitation of a Syrian man she had met online three years earlier, and travelled to Turkey. There, the man posing as her future husband convinced her to go with him to Syria to greet his parents. Accompanied by the man, she entered Syria illegally and was immediately kidnapped by a gang that was waiting for them on the other side of the border. The kidnappers contacted her daughter in Argentina and demanded an undisclosed ransom. The woman escaped her captors after a year and reportedly survived by staying with locals. After a while, the “Salvation Government”, a parallel government established in Idlib province by jihadi group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), reportedly sought to address the case earlier in 2018, trying without success to contact Argentina’s foreign ministry. On 30 October, the Salvation Government handed Papa to Turkish NGO Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which dealt with her situation and managed her repatriation. It is currently unknown what her legal status is. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

5. (CAMEROON, 29/11/18) Lawyer released after two days in captivity by militants

Attorney Benjamin Suf Fuh was released on 28 November after spending over 48 hours in captivity. The circumstances of his release are not known. He was kidnapped outside his home on 26 November as he was returning from Douala, where he participated in the Elective General Assembly of the Bar Association. Fuh’s kidnapping took place after Anglophone secessionists had banned Anglophone lawyers from taking part in this assembly. For fear of reprisals, many other lawyers refrained from visiting Douala on that weekend. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

6. (AFGHANISTAN, 02/12/18) Taliban abducted 60 drivers

Taliban militants abducted 60 drivers of coal-supplying trucks in Dara-i-Suf Payan district of northern Samangan province on 2 December, an Afghan official said. Reportedly, the Taliban had demanded the truck drivers to give them 7,000 afghanis (USD 92) per truck as toll tax. One of the released drivers said the Taliban demanded 14,000 afghanis (USD 184) from drivers to allow them to supply coal to Mazar-i-Sharif, and 6,000 afghanis from those wanting to supply coal to Aibak. Samangan police confirmed the incident and said the number people who refused to pay, and thus are still in captivity, was 45. Police said they had reached the area and efforts were underway for the release of the abducted drivers. FULL ARTICLE