Kidnap & Ransom update – January 10, 2019
10-Jan-19

AMERICAS

1. (TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, 08/01/19) Venezuelan pirates rob and kidnap Trinitarian fishermen
Poverty has forced many Venezuelan fishermen into piracy, according to UK media. Trinitarian fishermen are the Venezuelan pirates’ main targets, robbing and kidnapping them. The pirates are also accused of creating new routes for the trafficking of drugs and arms. According to reports, most piracy incidents in this area take place just after sunset, and most pirates are former employees of a tuna fishing company, who lost their jobs. Ransoms reportedly range between 5,000 and 30,000 Trinitarian dollars (USD 730 – 4,400). FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (COLOMBIA, 08/01/19) Soldier kidnapped in Norte de Santander

Army First Corporal Ángel Mauricio Acevedo Torres was kidnapped on 7 January in a small locality of Villa del Rosario, Norte de Santander. The soldier was reportedly on leave when he was accosted by a group of heavily armed men dressed in civilian clothes, who forced him on a motorcycle and took him to an unknown place near the border with Venezuela. Army troops have already initiated search operations. The abduction has not been claimed by any group. FULL ARTICLE

EUROPE

3. (UKRAINE, 09/01/19) Paraguayans freed after abduction in Odessa

Paraguayan football trainer Rolando Marciano Chilavert and his son have been released after being held against their will in Ukraine, Paraguayan Interior Minister Juan Ernesto Villamayor said. According to preliminary data provided by the minister, Chilavert and his son were held hostage on 4 January, as a result of a labour dispute with their employers in the country. Reportedly, the victims were taken from their hotel room at the Hotel Il Decameron in Odessa, an later dispossessed of their passports and USD 1,500. The two victims were then taken away, allegedly suffering violence and threats during captivity. They were released following intervention by the Paraguayan government, who liaised with Ukrainian police, Interpol and others. FULL ARTICLE

4. (NORWAY, 09/01/19) Wife of Norwegian millionaire kidnapped for ransom

The kidnappers of the wife of Norwegian multimillionaire Tom Hagen have demanded a large ransom for her release, local media reported on 9 January. 68-year-old Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik, was kidnapped on 31 October 2018 from her home in Lorenskog, approximately 20km from Oslo. A ransom of €9 million in cryptocurrency has been reportedly demanded for her release. According to reports, although contact with the kidnappers has been limited, they have threatened to use violence against the hostage if her family does not meet their demands. No Proof Of Life has reportedly been provided. In a statement, police said they made the case public, despite threats from the kidnappers, in order to appeal for more information. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

AFRICA

5. (DRC, 08/01/19) Ugandan kidnapped for ransom by DRC militants

Ugandan police reported on the kidnapping of a Ugandan national from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 7 January. The victim has been identified as Isaya Mbeeta, who was taken by two armed militants from the garden of his house. Isaya’s captors have demanded a ransom of 2 million shillings (USD 532) for his release. FULL ARTICLE

6. (MALI, 08/01/19) Jihadists abduct seven people suspected of espionage

Between 6 and 10 December, jihadists from Katibat Macina (or Macina Liberation Front, an affiliate of the al Qaeda-linked Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin- JNIM) abducted several people in the small village of Doro, in Mopti region. The incident took place after operation Barkhane killed Amadou Koufa, the group’s leader, in November 2018. According to Malian officers, the operation was a result of intelligence provided by members of the Malian Armed Forces who had infiltrated the ranks of the organisation. Following Koufa’s killing, Katibat Macina launched a hunt for alleged “spies”. Since then, several people have been abducted in Mopti, including a former driver of Koufa’s wife. FULL ARTICLE

7. (CONGO, 09/01/19) 12 Kidnapped sailors released after two months in captivity

The kidnapped crewmembers of hijacked vessels Anuket Amber and Ark Tze, were released on 2 January. The released crew include three Indonesians and two Ukrainian nationals. No more details on the release are available at the moment. The kidnapping took place on 29 October 2018. The Singapore-flagged supply ship Ark Tze, with 15 crew members on board -12 Indonesians, two Myanmar citizens, and one Ukrainian-, was hijacked while passing through Congolese waters. The pirates abducted the Ukrainian and three Indonesian crew members, and moved them to Panama-flagged tanker ship Anuket Amber, which they had hijacked earlier on the same day and from where another Ukrainian was kidnapped. The rest of the Ark Tze’s crew members were freed. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2) (3)

8. (UGANDA, 09/01/19) South Sudanese gunmen raid Yumbe, kidnap three Ugandans

Ugandan authorities have launched a new manhunt for suspected South Sudanese gunmen, who on 7 January sneaked into Yumbe district and kidnapped three Ugandans from their homes. According to reports, the gunmen also stole 340,000 shillings (USD 90) in cash and other valuables. One of the victims was released by the kidnappers soon after, in order to collect the ransom for the other two hostages, amounting to 700,000 shillings (USD 186). The sector intelligence officer for West Nile region said that the Ugandan security forces have engaged with the SPLA-IO rebels to release the duo. FULL ARTICLE

9. (MALAWI, 09/01/19) Pakistanis tried for kidnapping of businessman’s son

Three Pakistani nationals have been charged in a Blantyre court, alongside their four Malawian accomplices, for the kidnapping for ransom of the son of a businessman. Court records indicate the accused demanded USD 4 million for the release of the son of Pakistani businessman Mohammed Shail. 9-year-old Tahil Shail was kidnapped on 11 December 2018 from his home in Limbe town, Blantyre district. The kidnappers reportedly threatened to take the child to Mozambique if the ransom was not paid. Tahil was found safe outside a mosque in the Blantyre locality of Kanjedza, on 12 December. It is not clear if any ransom was paid. FULL ARTICLE (1)

10. (EGYPT, 09/01/19) Egypt confirms one German detained, another unaccounted for

Germany’s Foreign Ministry has announced that Egyptian authorities confirmed having German-Egyptian citizen Mahmoud Abdel Aziz in their custody. He was in the company of his brother Malik at the time of his arrest at Cairo airport, on 27 December 2018. The brothers are both enrolled in the Islamic studies program at a Saudi University and had travelled to Egypt allegedly to visit their grandparents. According to German authorities, they have been “trying very intensively to get access” to Aziz, but have not yet been able to see him. Thus far, no reason has been given for the arrest. In a similar incident, 18-year-old Isa El Sabbagh, also with Egyptian-German dual citizenship, disappeared in Luxor on 17 December, en route to Cairo to visit his grandfather. The German Foreign Ministry said its Cairo embassy is still attempting to determine his whereabouts. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)