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Kidnap & Ransom update – March 10, 2019


1. (MEXICO, 08/03/19) Kidnapped rancher found dead after 14 days

Rancher Moisés Escobar, who was kidnapped on 23 February, was found dead in the vicinity of his ranch in the municipality of Cunduacán, Tabasco State. The body was found by ranch workers, bearing signs of violence and in decomposition state. Escobar was kidnapped by an armed group while on his way to his farm. According to preliminary official investigations, an employee facilitated the rancher’s kidnapping. It emerged that the kidnappers demanded a MXP 5 million (USD 259,000) ransom for his release, however, it is not known if the payment was made or not, and whether this had any influence in his death. Previously, on 12 February, another cattle rancher, Amado Arias López, was kidnapped in the state, on the road that leads from Villahermosa to the municipality of Teapa. He was also killed, in spite of negotiations to free him. In that case, kidnappers initially demanded 10 million pesos (approximately USD 512,000). The demand had decreased to three million (over USD 153,000) around the time the body was found. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (ECUADOR, 09/03/19) Youth rescued by police special forces in Quito

Special units of the National Police rescued a young man a day after his kidnapping in Quito. The man had gone missing on 6 March, after he went to meet a woman who had contacted him on a social network. The victim’s father later received a call from a man who claimed having his son, and who demanded a ransom payment of USD 200,000, threatening to kill the victim if this did not take place within 20 hours. Once the authorities were alerted on the incident, they were able to locate the place where the kidnappers had the victim. On 7 March, at about 15:15 local time, members of the police raided the suspected safe house, located in southern Quito. Three suspected kidnappers, including a woman, were arrested in the operation. The victim was released without injury. FULL ARTICLE


3. (LEBANON, 06/03/19) Kidnapped Syrian man rescued in northern Lebanon

Security forces in Northern Governorate, found a young man of Syrian nationality who had been kidnapped two days ago in the town of Bahboush, Beshri district. The victim is reported in good health and local authorities are currently investigating the circumstances of his kidnapping. The rescue of the foreign national took place following the arrest of a suspect. FULL ARTICLE (1)


4. (NIGERIA, 09/03/19) Militants kidnap six journalists in Rivers State

In the context of post-electoral violence across southern Nigeria, at least six local journalists have been reported kidnapped by suspected militants in Rivers State. According to local news outlets, the journalists were kidnapped in Ahoada West Local Government Area of the state. Nonso Iziguzor, a journalist working with Nigerian Info FM in Port Harcourt, is reported to be among the abducted journalists. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (MADAGASCAR, 09/03/19) Eight kidnapping cases reported in the Malagasy capital in 2019

According to officials of the Malagasy National Gendarmerie, eight kidnapping cases have been reported in Antananarivo since the beginning of 2019, with 20 cases reported country-wide in the past five months. It is also reported by the authorities that kidnappers involved in the eight cases in the capital demanded an overall sum of 197 million ariary (approximately USD 55,000) in ransoms. FULL ARTICLE


6. (AFGHANISTAN, 04/03/19) US security alert warning on kidnapping threat in Kabul

On 4 March, the US Department of State issued a security alert for Kabul city, warning on the kidnapping threat to American citizens in the city. According to the alert, there is credible evidence that US citizens continue to be priority kidnapping targets for violent extremist organizations and criminal kidnap for ransom gangs. The alert mentions the western police districts of Kabul City as areas where US nationals may be specifically targeted. The US travel advisory remains Level 4: Do not travel, this, due to critical threat levels of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict. FULL ARTICLE (1)