Kidnap & Ransom update June 10, 2018
10-Jun-18

AMERICAS

1. (VENEZUELA, 09/06/18) Kidnapping increasing in the border with Colombia
According to a report prepared by local NGO Observatorio del Delito Organizado, 49 kidnappings were reported throughout Venezuela in the first quarter of 2018. Expert criminologists estimate that 10% of cases end in the death of the victims. Disappearances are frequent in the localities near the country’s borders, mainly in the states Táchira, Zulia and Apure, bordering Colombia. According to local reports, the kidnapping incidence decreased in the border between Venezuela and Colombia during 2015 and 2016, but has notably reemerged, directly linked with an increase in the activities of guerrilla groups, paramilitary organizations and criminal gangs in the area. According to testimonies of relatives of victims, this increase is in part due to an upsurge in clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the armed group Los Pelusos since the first months of 2017. Data from NGO Venezuela Libre de Secuestros, indicates that 105 Venezuelan citizens have been kidnapped between January 2002 and May 2018 by Colombian irregular groups ELN, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and Popular Liberation Army (EPL) and their splinters. All of these victims reportedly remain in captivity or their whereabouts are completely unknown. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

2. (GUINEA, 07/06/18) Kidnapping network dismantled in Conakry
The judicial police dismantled a network of kidnappers in Conakry on 6 June. According to the police, the group comprising two Lebanese nationals and a Guinean, abducted a Lebanese businessman on 19 May and demanded a ransom of .USD 70,000 for his release. FULL ARTICLE

3. (SOMALIA, 07/06/18) Iran frees four sailors held by Somali pirates
Iran’s intelligence forces rescued four Iranian sailors from the captivity of pirates in Somalia following a “complicated” operation. The said operation was conducted in close collaboration with the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said. The rescued sailors, Masoud Balouchi, Ahmad Balouchi, Adam Balouchi and Shir-Mohammad Tabezar, had been kidnapped three years ago in international waters near Somalia. Previously, in February 2017, eight Iranian sailors were freed following negotiations between Senegal’s embassy in Somalia and the pirates. The eight sailors were released six months after the crew members of an Iranian fishing vessel, which fell prey to pirates in May 2016, managed to escape from the hands of their kidnappers. FULL ARTICLE

4. (LIBYA, 09/06/18) Nine rescued from kidnappers in southern Libya
Nine abductees were released in the locality of al-Buwanis in southern Libya. The body of another hostage who died in captivity was also recovered during the operation. In a statement, the relatives confirmed that the abductees were tortured while held for ransom. The kidnappers reportedly demanded 50,000 Libyan dinars (USD 36,500) for every hostage, which was paid in full. It is not clear if the hostage who died was killed in the absence of payment. The victims, which included eight truck drivers and a child, were kidnapped on 17 May by an armed group at a fake checkpoint on the road between Sabha and Jufra. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

5. (BURKINA FASO, 09/06/18) Kidnappers release pastor and family
A pastor and his family were released by kidnappers in Burkina Faso on 7 June, after being held for four days. Pastor Pierre Boena, four family members and a church member were kidnapped on 3 June in the village of Bilhore, near the border with Mali. Local sources said Boena’s son and his daughter-in-law, were released later on 8 June, however no mention was made of his two granddaughters, who were also abducted. It remains unclear if a ransom was paid to secure their release. Meanwhile, a catechist and his wife, who were abducted two weeks earlier, remain in captivity. While no group has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, World Watch Monitor reports that the perpetrators are believed to be members of the Fulani ethnic group. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

6. (GEORGIA, 01/06/18) Kidnapped Turkish national released
Turkish national Kaya Selim, was found in the city of Sukhumi during a raid carried out by officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia on 30 May. Selim, the captain of the Turkish fishing ‘Seiner’ was abducted by unknown persons in Ochamchira on 9 February after he hitchhiked outside a bar. The car in which he was taken was found abandoned the next day, with a bullet hole in the windshield and no traces of its occupants. The Georgian authorities are currently trying to clarify the events and identify the perpetrators. FULL ARTICLE (1)

7. (PHILIPPINES, 08/06/18) Police officers arrested for kidnapping of Chinese national
A dismissed policeman, an intelligence agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, a traffic constable from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and another one were arrested after being linked to the kidnapping of a Chinese national in Quezon City last month. Wu Yaochui and his errand boy were on their vehicle approaching a gasoline station in Quezon City when they were blocked by two armed suspects on a vehicle on 25 May. The armed suspects identified themselves as police officers and arrested Wu on a made-up traffic violation. The two suspects then handcuffed the victims before taking them both away in their own vehicle. The suspects held the victims and initially demanded P3 million (USD 56,700) in exchange for their release but Wu haggled and convinced the kidnappers to lower it to P300,000 (USD 5,700). Wu then asked the suspects to take him to his home to get the cash. Once there, the suspects also took two vehicles parked at the residence and left. The victims then immediately reported the incident to the police. On 6 June, an informant spotted one of the said vehicles, prompting the police to conduct a security operation. The police arrested one of the suspects, which later conducted to the arrest of the rest of the alleged participants. FULL ARTICLE