Kidnap & Ransom update – February 12, 2019


1. (PUERTO RICO, 11/02/19) Man processed for kidnaping of Dominican migrant

A man was charged with the kidnapping and rape of a Dominican migrant. The victim arrived at the western Puerto Rico locality of Rincón on 3 February, on a boat along 36 other Dominican illegal migrants. While all the other migrants managed to flee and hide in the bush, the victim was left behind. She was found by the accused, who at knifepoint took her to his house, where he hit and raped her for two days. The man also forced the victim to call a friend in the Dominican Republic, requesting USD 400 for her release, saying the man would kill her if the money was not deposited by the evening of the same day. The woman was also forced to call her family, from whom a USD 500 ransom was demanded. Once the payments were made, the woman was released. FULL ARTICLE

2. (MEXICO, 11/02/19) FBI investigates alleged kidnapping of American journalist

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently investigating the illegal detention of American photojournalist John Sevigny, who directly accuses the police of the city of Cordoba, Veracruz State, as alleged perpetrators. In addition to these claims, the local authorities are investigating the alleged group rape of Sevigny’s friend, a native of that city, during the incident on 8 January. Reportedly, at least dozen armed men entered his friend’s house and took the two victims to a safe house, where they were held for 20 days. Both victims were allegedly beaten and tortured during their time in captivity. The incident was made public online by Sevigny, who alleged that the police chief of Cordoba had confirmed he had been abducted by local security officers working for a cartel operating in the area. Sevigny has said he believes his kidnapping may have been a case of “wrong target” since they were released. According to the Veracruz authorities, a number of inconsistencies have been found between his statements online and those given to the Mexican agencies. According to the Mexican Attorney General, Jorge Winckler, a number of similar incidents have been reported in recent weeks in Veracruz State, including the case of three Mexican-Americans who were illegally detained on 31 December 2018 in Actopan. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)


3. (UKRAINE, 03/02/19) Kidnapped Indian businessman released in Odessa

Anuj Goel, an Indian businessman owning a chain of pharmacies in Odessa, was reported free and safe on 2 February, just hours after Indian authorities, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, reportedly took the matter at the highest level of the Ukrainian government. Goel was kidnapped outside his home as he was coming back from work, on 29 January. According to Ukrainian law enforcement officers, the kidnapping may have been linked to business rivalry. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)


4. (UGANDA, 11/02/19) Rwandan boy killed by kidnappers

On 11 February, police in Uganda’s Isingiro District exhumed the body of a 14-year-boy who was kidnaped and killed after his parents failed to pay the ransom demanded by his kidnappers. Peter Oscar Muhairwe was kidnaped from Kaberebere Town, Isingiro, on 4 February. The kidnapers had called the child’s mother and demanded a Shs7million ransom (almost USD 2,000). Although the mother managed to gather Shs5million from family in Rwanda, she was hesitant to give it all to the kidnapers, so she only paid Shs200, 000 (USD 54). The authorities managed to trace the kidnappers’ hideout via the GPS signal of the phone used to communicate with the victim’s family. Unfortunately, by the time police arrived to the location, the boy had already been killed. The victim was a Rwandan national who was in the country to carry out his studies. One suspect has been arrested so far. FULL ARTICLE


5. (MALAYSIA, 12/02/19) Police kill suspected kidnappers targeting foreigners

On 12 February, Malaysian police shot dead two suspected kidnappers. The arrest took place during a police raid at a house in Kuala Lumpur, after a tip-off involving a kidnapping. A police spokesman said that the police rescued a kidnapped Bangladeshi man, who had been kidnapped 8 February in the Sentul area of Kuala Lumpur. The suspects, who were foreign nationals, are believed to be members of a syndicate involved in the kidnapping of foreigners in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor state. FULL ARTICLE (1)