Kidnap & Ransom update May 3, 2018
3-May-18

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 30/04/18) American citizen victim of virtual kidnapping in Ciudad Juarez
Ciudad Juarez municipal police located an American citizen who was victim of ‘virtual kidnapping’. The man from Denver, was called at his hotel room in Juarez by criminals who demanded that he make a deposit of 27,000 pesos (USD 1,420) to a bank account, in exchange for his niece, who they said they had kidnapped. Following an initial payment of 2,000 pesos (USD 105), the victim was instructed to leave his hotel and move to another one. Coincidentally, the man’s Mexican relatives had gone to the first hotel looking for him, and when they could not locate him, they reported the incident to the police. The police then mounted a search operation, finding the victim at the second hotel. Subsequent police investigations traced the calls to the city of Tampico in Tamaulipas state. FULL ARTICLE

2. (COSTA RICA, 01/05/18) Colombian found dead despite ransom payment
A kidnapped Colombian expatriate was found decapitated on 28 April at a road in the outskirts of the city of Alajuela. Diego Fernando García Lemus, a Colombian businessman settled in Costa Rica for 10 years, was kidnapped on 26 April from his home in the Costa Rican capital, San Jose. Neighbours described suspicious activity on the night of the event and said witnessing the moment when a number of men took the foreign national away. It is unknown what the kidnappers’ initial demand was, but it is reported his family had paid a ransom of USD 14,000. The motives of his murder are unknown. The victim’s family in Colombia reported the incident to Costa Rican authorities, although is it unknown if this was done prior or after the payment took place. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (ARGENTINA, 01/05/18) Narcotrafficker’s daughter released after ransom payment
The 18-year-old daughter of the leader of a drug trafficking gang was kidnapped in Buenos Aires and released the next day after her father allegedly paid a ransom of 300,000 pesos (USD 14,400). The young woman was kidnapped as she arrived at her home, where she lives with her father who is serving home sentence. As she was parking, three armed criminals, dressed in dark clothes and caps, forced her out of her vehicle and took her away. The father of the victim witnessed the events and called the police. The next morning, the father received three extortion calls in which the kidnappers demanded 2 million pesos (USD 96,000) and drugs, in exchange for his daughter’s release. A final agreement was reached for 300,000 pesos, which were delivered in the locality of Martinez, greater Buenos Aires. After being held for several hours, the girl was released unharmed around 5 pm. The kidnapping is currently being investigated by the federal prosecutor. FULL ARTICLE

4. (COLOMBIA, 03/05/18) Guacho demands truce to hand over bodies of kidnapped Ecuadorian journalists
“Guacho”, leader of the FARC dissident unit Oliver Sinisterra, has demanded a halt in military operations at the Ecuador-Colombia border. This, he said, to allow the process of hand over of the bodies of the staff of Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio, kidnapped in late March. Guacho also vowed to hand over the Ecuadorian couple kidnapped in mid-April, and who the group accuses of being members of the Ecuadorian intelligence services. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

5. (ISRAEL, 01/05/18) Palestinian terror groups trying to kidnap soldiers on Gaza border
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Gadi Eisenkot, said on 1 May that Palestinian terror groups had attempted to kidnap soldiers in recent weeks. These attempts allegedly took place during mass protests on the Gaza border, which he identified as a front for terrorist activity. According to Eisenkot, the mass protests served as cover for terrorist actions, including kidnapping attempts among other attacks on Israeli soldiers. Eisenkot, however, did not provide details on the said kidnapping attempts. FULL ARTICLE

6. (UAE, 03/05/18) Three processed for kidnapping in Dubai
The Dubai prosecution said that three Asians are being accused of the kidnapping of an Asian driver and another man. The accused, dressed in military uniforms, showed at the victims’ residence in the area of Rashadiyah, and requested the victims to accompany them to the district police station. The accused based their request on the grounds that the victims were living in a families-only area and as such, they were to be fined 60,000 dirhams (USD 16,300). The victims obliged, but instead of going to the police station, the criminals kept them hostage inside the car. The victims were reportedly beaten throughout their ordeal and driven around the areas of Rashidiya and al Qusais for five hours until they managed to pay the men 40,000 dirhams (almost USD 11,000) for their release. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

7. (NIGERIA, 02/05/18) Nigerian man threatened to kidnap Indian ex-boss
A Nigerian man has been arrested for allegedly threatening to kidnap his former Indian boss. The accused reportedly sent text messages to the Indian national, threatening to abduct him if a certain amount was not paid into his bank account. Alarmed, the Indian man reported the incident to the police, who traced the text messages to the suspect and arrested him on 19 April in Lagos. The local man confessed to the charges. He said that after being laid off from his job, he held a grudge against the victim and then planned the extortion/kidnapping along with a number of accomplices. FULL ARTICLE

8. (SOMALIA, 03/05/18) German Red Cross nurse kidnapped in Mogadishu
A group of armed men entered the Red Cross (ICRC) compound in Mogadishu in the evening of 2 May and abducted a female German nurse. Reports suggest she was taken through a back entrance and into a waiting vehicle. The kidnapping was reported to have taken place without outward violence and despite several security guards working at the site. The site guards are said to have been taken in by police for questioning. No one immediately claimed responsibility, but the incident has been attributed to Al-Shabaab, which operates in the area. The ICRC said it is “in contact with various authorities to try and secure her release.” FULL ARTICLE (1)

9. (CAMEROON, 03/05/18) Catholic released after kidnapping by Anglophone militants
A priest in Cameroon’s Northwest region was released on 2 May, two days after he was kidnaped by gunmen believed to be separatist militants. Father Willian Niba, the principal of St. Bede’s College, was abducted on 30 April while officiating 6’oclock mass in the town of Belo. His abduction was said to be connected with his failure to observe a social boycott called by Anglophone separatists, by which he was supposed to halt school activities. The main separatist group pushing for the so-called Ambazonia Republic is the Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF), which says it only targets members of the security forces and does not engaged in kidnapping, suggesting that other fringe groups in the area are behind the kidnappings recorded in recent months. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2) (3)

ASIA

10. (INDIA, 03/05/18) Maoists abduct construction workers
Maoist insurgents kidnapped an engineer and another construction worker. Both victims are employees of a company engaged in the construction of roads in the Balram Pur district of Chhattisgarh. During the attack, the militants set fire to a number of company vehicles. It is reported the Naxals carried out the attack in reprisal for the company refusing to pay a levy. According to local accounts, both victim are being held in the mountain area of Chhattisgarh state. FULL ARTICLE

11. (PHILIPPINES, 03/05/18) Abu Sayyaf demands ransom for police officers
The Zamboanga police has declared it secured proof of life of the two policewomen seized by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu province on 29 April. The Director of the regional police, Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran, said negotiations are ongoing for their release. Beltran also said that the ASG has demanded ransom but did not mention the exact amount. FULL ARTICLE