Kidnap & Ransom update November 1, 2018
1-Nov-18

AMERICAS

1. (COLOMBIA, 30/10/18) ELN releases kidnapped engineer

Colombian authorities announced the release of engineer Jesús María Rojas Parada, 32 hours after he was kidnapped by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). According to an army official, the release occurred after a large joint security operation of the Colombian Army, Police and Air Force. Rojas Parada was kidnapped on 29 October by two men outside his daughter’s school as he went to pick her up. The incident was attributed to the Domingo Laín Sáenz Front of the ELN. Rojas Parada is a renowned contractor of the municipality of Saravena, who is also in charge of cadastral appraisals for the office of Saravena’s mayor. It is unknown if the group had demanded a ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (COLOMBIA, 31/10/18) Colombian kidnappers demand ransom for Garcia Marquez relative

A senior Colombian police official said that kidnappers holding a relative of the late Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, have demanded USD 5 million for her release. Garcia Marquez’s great niece, Melissa Martinez Garcia, was seized at the end of August by a group of armed men who intercepted her vehicle near the northern city of Santa Marta, along the Caribbean coast. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

3. (YEMEN, 01/11/18) Houthi militias kidnap Yemeni photographer in Sanaa

Houthi militias kidnapped photographer Hamad al-Qaoud from a public street in Sanaa. Qaoud was abducted near the presidential palace and taken to an unknown destination, according to local news publications. Qaoud is the son of prominent Yemeni writer Mohamed al-Qaoud. The Houthis have often targeted political and human rights activists, bloggers, and media personalities who speak out against the militias. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

4. (LIBYA, 31/10/18) Alleged kidnapping attempt targeting Chinese diplomat in Tripoli

According to a Libyan newspaper, the Chinese chargé d’affaires in Libya was about to be kidnapped by a “militia man” outside Tripoli airport. The plan was reportedly foiled by other militia, the newspaper said. The report stated the plan was to kidnap the diplomat, who they identified as “Li Zigu”, for ransom, in a process similar to the kidnapping of former Jordanian ambassador to Libya Fawaz al-Atan and other foreign diplomats. The Chinese embassy in Libya did not comment on the incident and did not say whether the diplomat has already entered Tripoli. Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Tripoli-based Libyan Foreign Ministry, Ahmed al-Arbud, has denied the reports. The spokesperson confirmed that the Chinese chargé d’affaires is carrying out his duties as usual and has contacted him directly to confirm his safety and the safety of all members of the Chinese mission without exception. Al-Arbud stressed that the circulated news were a fabrication. It is worth noting that al-Arbud in his statement named the diplomat as “Wang Choath”, in contradiction with the news disseminated in Libyan media. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (CONGO, 30/10/18) Third vessel attacked off Pointe Noire, crew kidnapped

After the reported attack on two tankers on 29 October, a third vessel was hijacked and its crew taken hostage also off Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo. Tanker ANUKET AMBER was bunkering LPG tanker BW FRIGG when pirates attacked them west of Pointe Noire. While the BW FRIGG managed to escaped, ANUKET AMBER was hijacked. Later on the same day, pirates attacked offshore supply ship ARK TZE roughly in the same area. Four crew members were kidnapped, and later transferred to the recently hijacked ANUKET AMBER. It is reported that the kidnapped crew consists of eight Filipinos, and nine other sailors of Latvian, Russian and Ukrainian nationality. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2) (3)