Kidnap & Ransom update – March 19, 2019
19-Mar-19

AMERICAS

1. (VENEZUELA, 18/03/19) Kin of local businessman kidnapped and killed in Aragua

On 16 March, Venezuela’s investigative police (CICPC) removed two bodies from a rural area of Aragua State. The bodies were later identified as siblings Katherine y Miguel Caballero, who had been kidnapped on the evening of 15 March after a raid on their home in the locality of Barbacoas. The motives behind the kidnapping and murder remain unknown. Relatives of the deceased affirmed no ransom was demanded, thus leading them to believe the incident was linked to extortion (right-to-operate fees). However, some activists stated on social media that the siblings were actually abducted by members of a special police unit, following the victims’ participation in a protest early on the same day. FULLL ARTICLE (1)

2. (MEXICO, 18/03/19) 13 Cuban migrants released by kidnappers in Tamaulipas

On 17 March, at least 13 Cuban migrants were released in the border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas State, after their families reportedly paid USD 1,350 in ransom for each of them. According to relatives of one of the migrants, the group had been held hostage for almost eight days. It was also reported that the kidnappers had recorded a video of the release, which was later sent to the families of the hostages, to demonstrate that they had complied with their part of the deal. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (MEXICO, 19/03/19) Kidnapped rancher found dead in Tabasco

On 17 March, the body of a rancher was found, almost a week after his kidnapping. David R. C. was kidnapped on 8 March by three armed men over the highway Las Choapas-Ocozocoautla, Tabasco State, as he was on his way back to his ranch. According to initial reports, the kidnappers originally demanded a MXP 3 million ransom (almost USD 154,000), which they later reduced to MXP 2 million (over USD 102,000). It is believed the rancher was killed after his family failed to pay the kidnappers. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

4. (YEMEN, 19/03/19) Alleged involvement of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood in kidnapping of Saudi officers

Yemeni and Arab-coalition-linked media revealed the involvement of Qatari intelligence in the abduction of five Saudi officers in Yemen’s northeastern Al-Jouf province on 13 March. According to these sources, the Qatari intelligence agencies acted through a tribe loyal to the Islah Party, which is the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen. Meanwhile, tribesmen of Bani Nouf in Al-Jouf province issued an official statement on 18 March, deploring the incident and clarifying their position with regards to the kidnapping. In their statement, the tribesmen identified “subversive elements” to be behind the kidnapping, which was “aimed at destabilizing the region and spreading division”. Moreover, they asserted that the alleged tribesmen behind the incident do not belong to one of the local tribes and do not represent them as the local tribes are loyal to the “legitimate government” of Yemen and its Arab allies. FULL ARTICLE (1)

ASIA

5. (MYANMAR, 17/03/19) Insurgents attack vessel, abduct crew in western Myanmar

On 16 March, an insurgents of the Arakan Army (AA) attacked a civilian vessel, setting fire on it and abducting its crew members, off Paletwa town, Myanmar’s western Chin state. The MV Yadana Win 7, which carried 300 steel frames for a bridge project, was on its way to Paletwa from Yangon when it was attacked by the AA near Namada village. The attack forced the vessel to dock by the river bank, where the militants set it on fire and abducted the crew members. Myanmar Police confirmed the abducted crew was released a few hours later. The incident was the latest in a series of AA attacks in western Rakhine state this month. FULL ARTICLE

6. (BANGLADESH, 17/03/19) 16 fishermen kidnapped by pirates in the Bay of Bengal

Bangladeshi pirates hijacked four fishing boats from the Bay of Bengal near Barguna, kidnapping their 16-man crew. The President of Barguna district fishing trawler owners association, confirmed the incident, which took place off Jahajkhari, on the night of 15 March. Reportedly, the pirates, who came from the Sundarbans, stole their catch, fuel, and fishing nets, additionally demanding Tk 16 lakh (almost UDS 19,000) as ransom to free the 16 fishermen. Bangladeshi authorities affirmed a rescue operation is underway. FULL ARTICLE

7. (PAKISTAN, 18/03/19) Doctors found dead despite family paying ransom

Two doctors, who were abducted five days ago from Attock, Punjab Province, were found dead on the morning of 18 March. According to police, their bodies were found in the vicinity of a small dam in the district. Both bodies bore gunshot wounds and signs of torture. Dr Iftikhar and Dr Aziz, were abducted from Gali Jagir on 13 March. Dr Iftikhar had just returned to Pakistan from the US, where he lived. Local police suspect the involvement of their employees in the murders. Three men have been arrested so far. The authorities believe the crimes may be linked to Dr Iftikhar’s plan to sell a large piece of land he owned in the area. FULL ARTICLE (1)