Kidnap & Ransom update – March 7, 2019
7-Mar-19

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 05/03/19) Five kidnapped foreign migrants rescued in Chiapas

Chiapas authorities raided a property in the locality of Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas State, rescuing five kidnapped Central American migrants. Two suspected kidnappers, who were in charge of taking care of the hostages, were arrested during the raid. According to the victims, the kidnappers had contacted their relatives in Guatemala, demanding a ransom of USD 5,000 for each of them. The migrants had been kidnaped while transiting in the locality, by a number of men who forced them into their vehicles. The victims said the men wore police uniforms, and as such, they did not resist what they thought was a lawful arrest. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (COLOMBIA, 05/03/19) Kidnapped MP found dead

On 6 March, Alizon Mosquera, was found dead after his kidnapping last weekend. According to reports compiled by the police, Mosquera was in the company of three other men when their vehicle was attacked by an armed commando between the municipalities of Condoto and Istmina, Choco department, on 2 March. The bodies of two of the MP’s companions were found on 4 March. The fourth man remains missing. Although no group has claimed the incidents, a number of armed organisations have presence in the area, particularly the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Clan del Golfo cartel. FULL ARTICLE

3. (VENEZUELA, 06/03/19) American journalist released after 12-hour detention in Caracas

American journalist Cody Weddle was released 12 hours after his detention by members of the Venezuelan military counterintelligence (DGCIM). The detention took place at his accommodation in Caracas early on 6 March. It was reported that procedures were underway for Weddle’s deportation on 7 March. Weddle’s Venezuelan assistant, who was arrested on the same day by members of the DGCIM, has also been released. According to a local NGO tracking these incidents, at least 49 journalists have been detained in Venezuela so far in 2019. The arrests have targeted both local and foreign journalists. Of note has been the arrest of German journalist Billy Six, who remains imprisoned in El Helicoide –HQ to the Venezuelan intelligence services and known to house political prisoners- since 17 November 2018. FULL ARTICLE

EUROPE

4. (RUSSIA, 04/03/19) Chechens kidnap Azerbaijani in Moscow

Reports have emerged on the kidnapping of an Azerbaijani national by a group of Chechens in Moscow in February. The incident reportedly took place on 15 February, following an altercation near a well-known Azerbaijani-owned café in southeast Moscow. The scuffle took place after the kidnap victim attacked a young Chechen, who had allegedly insulted Azerbaijanis on social networks. About 20 people were involved in the encounter. The Azerbaijani was then forced into a car and has not been heard of ever since. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST
5. (SYRIA, 04/03/19) Italian priest alive, possible impending release

According to Lebanese media citing Kurdish sources, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian priest who was kidnapped in Syria in 2013, is among Islamic State (IS) hostages being held in the last area of territory still controlled by the group in the south-east of the country. According to the same sources, Dall’Oglio is about to be released along with other Western and Kurdish hostages. Last month, The Times reported the extremist Islamist group was using Dall’Oglio and two other Western hostages, including British journalist John Cantlie and a nurse from New Zealand, as “bargaining chips” in negotiations with the US-backed Kurdish-Arab forces surrounding them. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

6. (NIGERIA, 05/03/19) Mother of international football player released

The mother of Samual Kalu, a Nigerian footballer currently playing for a French team, has been released, almost a week after her kidnapping in Abia State, Nigeria, on 27 February. Ozuruonye Juliet Kalu was reportedly released around midnight on 4 March. The circumstances of her release were not made public. However, the player had previously stated that the kidnappers were demanding additional N15 million (over USD 41,000) after a payment of N3 million (approximately USD 8,300) had already been made. According to other sources, the kidnapers had initially demanded approximately USD 138,000. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

7. (MADAGASCAR, 06/03/19) Kidnappers kill hostage

On 3 March, a group of kidnappers abducted four kids in the commune of Maevatanana. According to local reports, the victims tried to escape later on the same day. Two of them managed to escape, while the third victim, a 16 year-old boy, was killed the kidnappers after he was caught. The fourth victim, a 6 year-old girl, remains in captivity, with the kidnappers demanding a ransom of 10 million ariary (approximately USD 2,800) for her release. The kids reportedly come from low-income families working at a local gold quarry. FULL ARTICLE

8. (KENYA, 07/03/19) Company executive dies of injuries sustained during kidnapping

The acting managing director of Nzoia Sugar Company, Michael Kulundu, has died in Nairobi as a result of injuries he sustained during his abduction in January. Kulundu was kidnapped from a hotel/restaurant on the Kanduyi-Sikata highway in Bungoma, on 2 January 2019. His family found him the next day in a trench located about 100 metres from the restaurant he was taken from. He presented severe injuries, result of torture during captivity. It is believe his kidnapping/assault was politically motivated, carried out by individuals opposing the privatization of Nzoia’s sugar mill. Following his release, the victim and his family condemned the inactivity of the police on the case. FULL ARTICLE (1)