Kidnap & Ransom Update July 29, 2018
29-Jul-18

AMERICAS

1. (ECUADOR, 27/07/18) Relatives of couple murdered by FARC dissidents will sue the Ecuadorian State
Relatives of Óscar Villacís and Katty Velasco, the Ecuadorian couple who was kidnapped, tortured and then executed by FARC dissidents on the Ecuadorian-Colombian border, filed an international complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) against the Ecuadorian State. The victims’ relatives allege the government of President Lenin Moreno abandoned the victims despite knowing the dangerousness of the group holding them. The relatives are demanding undisputable proof that the government did all they could to rescue the victims. FULL ARTICLE

EUROPE

2. (SERBIA, 28/07/18) Grandfather of Novak Djokovic’s wife kidnapped in western Serbia
The 85-year-old grandfather of Jelena Djokovic, the wife of tennis player Novak Djokovic, was found tied up in a field after unknown assailants broke into his house in western Serbia. Miloslav Radisavljevic was taken hostage after armed men broke into his house in the city of Ljig, some 30 miles south of Belgrade. According to a Serbian news outlet, the kidnappers contacted one of the victim’s son, demanding a ransom of two million euros (USD 2.3 million). Local police said the man was found tied to a power pole at a field close to his house, early on 26 July, without any visible injuries. The victim told the police he was robbed by the two masked men of about 220 euros (USD 260) and a cell phone. It is unclear if a payment took place in exchange of his release. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

3. (SOUTH AFRICA, 27/07/18) Mozambican national suspected in wave of kidnappings in Cape Town
A Mozambican national is suspected to be the leader of an international crime syndicate behind the wave of kidnappings of prominent Cape Town businessmen. Momade Assife Abdul Satar, who goes by the name of “Nini Satar” and is known to be Mozambique’s most notorious criminal, is alleged to have recruits in Cape Town who carry out kidnappings. It is believed that the latest of the gang’s kidnappings was that of Layaqat Allie Parker, on 9 July 2018. Other kidnappings attributed to Nini’s South African gang are those of Sadeck Zhaun Ahmed on July 2017, and Omar Carrim on August 2017. Nini was arrested in Thailand on 25 July, following an international arrest warrant being put out for him. He is due to be extradited from Thailand to Mozambique, and then to South Africa. FULL ARTICLE (1)

4. (MADAGASCAR, 28/07/18) Kid kidnapped for ransom in western Madagascar
After three days in captivity, a kid who was kidnapped in the town of Malaimbandy, was rescued by the police. According to local authorities, no ransom was paid prior to the release. One of the criminals was shot dead during the operation. No more information is available on the case. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (MAURITANIA, 27/07/18) Polisario Front announces release of mayor’s son
On 26 July, the Polisario Front informed on the release of a kidnapped Mauritanian businessman. Mohamed Ould Levdhil, who is also the son of the mayor of the locality of Fdérick, was kidnapped on 21 July by alleged Sahrawi merchants who demanded a ransom of several million ouguiyas, which the victim reportedly owed them. Just several hours after the Mauritanian authorities reported the arrest of a man linked to the kidnaping on 25 July, the Polisario Front announced they had found the young victim safe in the vicinity of Tifariti, Western Sahara. However, following the announcement of the alleged release, the group has not handed the victim over to the Mauritanian authorities. FULL ARTICLE (1)

6. (GHANA, 28/07/18) Spanish volunteers kidnapped in southern Ghana
Cayetana Rivera, a well-known Spanish socialite, has just arrived in Spain after allegedly being held hostage while she was volunteering in Ghana with Spanish NGO Yes We Help (YWH). The incident reportedly took place on in the Ghanaian locality of Winneba, where three armed men stormed the volunteers’ living quarters, threatening and holding them hostage. According to local authorities, the perpetrators were officials from the local prison. It is reported that during the incident the men threatened to imprison the volunteers in they “continued with their bad behavior”. The motives of the assailants remain unclear. A representative of the NGO said the prison staff were just carrying out a security operation to safeguard the volunteers and denied the men were armed. However, the local authorities denied having knowledge of any such operation, saying the men were “mercenaries”. Rivera and other Spanish volunteers were escorted out of the country by Ghanaian police and Spanish diplomatic authorities on 24 July. Enquiries have been made regarding the possibility that the said NGO was in fact a fraud, without any real humanitarian projects in the country. FULL ARTICLE (1)

ASIA

7. (MONGOLIA, 28/07/18) Mongolian authorities thwart abduction of Turkish national
A Turkish teacher, who was allegedly kidnapped in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, was released after authorities temporarily grounded an airplane in which his abductors intended to transport him to Turkey. Veysel Akcay was abducted in front of his apartment on the morning of 27 July, according to friends and family, who circulated details of the abduction on social media and contacted the Mongolian police. Akcay was taken in a vehicle with a fake license plate and three masked people inside. The Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that several hours after the time of the abduction, a Turkish-chartered aircraft landed at Ulaanbaatar’s airport. The airplane was described as a Bombardier jet with a call sign matching that of a plane operated by the Turkish Air Force. Ackay, who has lived in Mongolia for 24 years, is associated with the network of Fethullah Gulen, which Turkish authorities hold responsible for the 2016 failed coup in Turkey. Turkish authorities have been accused of being involved in the abduction. The Turkish Embassy denied any involvement, according to the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mongolian deputy Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh said that if the accusations were true “it is an unacceptable act of violation of Mongolia’s sovereignty and independence and Mongolia will strongly object it.” FULL ARTICLE (1)

8. (BANGLADESH, 28/07/18) Abducted political leader rescued after eight hours
A mid-ranking leader of Bangladesh’s ruling party, the Awami League (AL), who was abducted from Dhaka on 27 July, was rescued early the next day. The kidnappers released Parvez Hossain Sarker, around 12:30am, from the Kanchan bridge in Purbachal city, Dhaka province. Police along with family members pick him up from the area after being called by the victim. Parvez did not immediately make a statement to the police as he said he was feeling drowsy. Parvez was kidnapped outside his home in Dhaka’s Lamatia area as he was returning from the mosque after Friday Prayers. At present, the motives for his kidnapping are unknown. FULL ARTICLE (1)