Kidnap & Ransom Update – July 3, 2019
3-Jul-19

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 02/07/19) Korean couple rescued from kidnappers in Mexico City

On 1 July, a Korean couple was rescued by elements of the Secretariat of Public Safety of Mexico City, who also arrested four alleged kidnappers. The foreigners had reportedly been abducted the previous night in the vicinity of the Doctores neighbourhood. The rescue took place during a raid that was initiated following reports of a burglary on a property in the Doctores area. When the authorities arrived at the location, the four criminals tried to escape but were soon apprehended. The police discovered the kidnapped couple thanks to the woman’s cries for help. The motives behind the kidnapping of the foreign nationals were not ascertained. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (MEXICO, 03/07/19) 27 kidnapped people rescued near Cancun

On 3 July, Quintana Roo State authorities reported the rescue of a group of 27 people who were being held in a property near Cancun. During the raid carried out by the state police and the National Guard, five “heavily armed” individuals also were arrested. The authorities said that originally 30 people had been kidnapped, however three of them had already been released by their captors. According to the police statement, the victims, who worked at a call center selling holiday packages, were abducted from their place of work located in a residential area of Cancun city. The raid was reportedly carried out by eight heavily armed men who also stole cars and other property. The authorities believe the kidnapping was linked to a dispute between two of the owners of the business. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

3. (LIBYA, 01/07/19) Libyan rebels release abducted Turkish sailors

Six abducted Turkish sailors have been reported safe and back on their ship after they were released by Libyan rebels linked to general Khalifa Haftar. It is not clear when and how the said militiamen abducted the Turkish nationals. The kidnapping is believed to be linked to the general’s resentment of Ankara’s support for the internationally-recognized Libyan army, and followed Haftar’s threat to attack any Turkish military presence and to treat any commercial Turkish aircrafts and ships as hostile. Likewise, the release followed a threat made on 30 June by Turkish authorities to attack Haftar’s rebel forces if they did not release the six sailors, or if further Turkish ships or interests were threatened. Reportedly, the released sailors have rejected an offer to go home and opted to continue their duties in Libya. FULL ARTICLE (1)

4. (LIBYA, 02/07/19) Amman urges Libya to secure release of abducted Jordanians

On 2 July, Jordan called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to facilitate the release of three Jordanian nationals abducted by a militia in August 2018 while they were in the country on “private business.” The Libyan Foreign Minister for the Tripoli-based government, Mohammad Tahir Syala, said the group’s release was delayed because they were detained by one militia and then handed to another. He affirmed however that Libyan authorities had recently located them and “handed their case over to the attorney general to end the investigation and release them”. FULL ARTICLE

5. (TANZANIA, 02/07/19) Kenyan businessman abducted in Tanzania found alive in Kenya

Raphael Ongangi, the Kenyan businessman who was abducted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 24 June, was found alive in Mombasa, Kenya, on 2 July, his wife has confirmed. Ms Kundya said she had spoken to her husband and thanked everyone who took part in finding him. No more information on Ongangui’s kidnap and release were made public by the family. Mr Ongangi, who is currently in a Mombasa hospital, said he was waiting for a delegation from Tanzania before he could talk about his ordeal. Ongangui’s abduction is said to be linked to his association with Mr Zitto Kabwe, an outspoken opposition politician and strong critic of President John Pombe Magufuli, whom he once served as personal assistant. Soon after Onagangi’s disappearance, Mr Kabwe claimed that Mr Ongangi was being held by the Tanzanian government as he had access to his phone and laptop, which had been confiscated from him in June, as well as to his social media accounts. Mr Kabwe also affirmed having evidence, in the form of CCTV video, showing that the vehicle used in Onagangi’s kidnapping belongs to a special force headed by the Tanzanian intelligence services. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

ASIA

6. (AFGHANISTAN, 01/07/19) US government warns on kidnapping threat against Americans in Mazar-e-Sharif

In a security alert issued on 1 July, the US department of state informed that as of early June 2019, militants planned to kidnap and murder US citizens in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh Province. According to the alert, the militants intended to kidnap US citizens from their homes in the city. FULL ARTICLE

7. (PHILIPPINES, 03/07/19) Eight Chinese arrested for kidnapping of two compatriots

Philippine police announced on 2 July the arrest of eight Chinese nationals who had allegedly kidnapped two compatriots. The suspects were accused of kidnapping Liu Chao and Li San Sheng from a restaurant in Barangay Alabang, Muntinlupa, on 22 June. The incident had only been reported to the authorities on 30 June. The victims, who had arrived in the country in April as tourists, were rescued from a house in a locality of Manila’s Las Piñas, in a dawn raid on 28 June. The victims were reportedly found handcuffed to a wooden double-deck bed in a room, with visible marks of injuries. According to the police, the suspects had taped the torture of the victims and sent the videos to their relatives, from whom they demanded 800,000 yuan (over USD 116,000) in ransom. A police investigation determined that the suspects, who operated an online gaming website, monitored and befriended players who won large amounts of money. These players would then be invited to a dinner and offered a job with high salary. The group would then kidnap the targets and demand ransom from their relatives. FULL ARTICLE (2)