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Kidnap & Ransom update November 23, 2018


1. (ARGENTINA, 22/11/18) Peruvian girl kidnapped and killed in Buenos Aires

The body of a 15-year-old Peruvian expatriate was found on 21 October, a day after her kidnapping in Buenos Aires. Xiomara Mendez was kidnapped outside her school on 20 November by a family acquaintance and an accomplice. The men demanded a ransom of 30,000 Argentinean pesos (USD 828). The police had been alerted of the events and monitored the payment of the ransom that took place the next day. The two suspects were arrested just after receiving the money. The girl’s body was found in the back of their car, apparently having recently died from asphyxia. Police investigations later determined that the victim’s parents had both criminal records, leading the authorities to believe the kidnapping may have been a case of settlement of accounts linked to drug trafficking activities. FULL ARTICLE


2. (LIBYA, 21/11/18) Libyan gunmen free kidnapped Egyptians

Egyptian workers taken hostage in Libya over a financial dispute have been freed. The 16 workers had been seized on 17 November in the city of Tobruk, eastern Libya, by unknown gunmen. The incident took place after Libyan contractors accused an Egyptian business partner, native from the same village as the kidnapped men, of fleeing the country after stealing 100,000 Libyan dinars (approximately USD 71,000). Through mediators, the kidnappers had told the relatives of the victims that the men would be freed once the Egyptian businessman returned the money, but threatened to take unspecified action against them if it was not paid. The governor’s office in Kafr el-Sheikh, the Egyptian province the workers are from, confirmed the case had been “resolved following coordination with government ministries”, without giving further details. The brother of one of the victims said he kidnappers freed the workers, some into the custody of local contractors who paid money on their behalf, while the rest signed undertakings to stay in Libya and work to settle the gunmen’s demands. It was reported that three of the hostages had escaped their captors but their whereabouts were not known. It is unclear what was the relationship between the accused Egyptian businessman and the workers. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (MADAGASCAR, 21/11/18) Fourth French businessman kidnapped

Harman Kamis, owner of Toamasina transport company Transfy, was kidnapped by four armed men on 20 November. The incident took place as the man was leaving the company headquarters in the city. Reportedly, the four men boarded the businessman’s car and forced him to drive away. The car was found abandoned in the capital, Antananarivo, a few hours after the incident. This is the fourth kidnapping of a French national of Indian origin in Madagascar in less than one month. FULL ARTICLE

4. (CAMEROON, 21/11/18) Cameroon military frees abducted children and teacher

On 21 November, Cameroon’s military rescued nine children and their teacher, a day after they were kidnapped by gunmen from their school in Kumba, South West region. Two kidnappers were reportedly killed in the rescue operation. According to the military, the remaining kidnappers fled the scene, leaving the hostages behind. Only the teacher resulted injured in the crossfire. Initial reports by residents had affirmed that between 15 and 20 kids had been abducted on the 20 December attack on the Lord’s Bilingual School. However, this was later refuted by the local authorities, who affirmed all of the victims were release. FULL ARTICLE

5. (KENYA, 23/11/18) 20 people held in Kenya over kidnapping of Italian aid worker

On 23 November, Kenyan Police said they have detained 20 people in connection with the abduction of an Italian woman. Reportedly, 17 people have been placed in custody and further three were arrested considered as persons of interest to the investigation. According to Inspector General Joseph Boinett, the arrested people have given the police valuable information to assist the ongoing operation to trace and rescue the foreign woman. A police manhunt, which initiated right after the incident, has so far failed to find any trace of the kidnappers and the hostage. Police said they are considering motives, including robbery, but it is feared the aid worker may have been smuggled north towards the Somalia border. Meanwhile, Italy’s foreign ministry has named the kidnapped woman as Silvia Romano, a 23-year-old from Milan. Romano, who was volunteering with Italian charity Africa Milele Onlus, was kidnapped on 21 November in a raid on the village of Chakama, southern Kenya. FULL ARTICLE