AMERICAS Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 15 January...
1. (MEXICO, 05/11/18) At least 100 members of migrant caravan kidnapped
Arturo Peimbert, Ombudsman of Oaxaca, denounced that nearly 100 undocumented immigrants, including children, went missing on their way to Mexico City from Veracruz state. The immigrant were reportedly kidnapped by bus drivers who handed them over to members of an organised criminal group, presumably Los Zetas. It is believed the said kidnapping took place in Puebla State. Given the conditions in which the migrants’ travel is taking place, it is expected more kidnappings will continue to take place. FULL ARTICLE
2. (CAMEROON, 05/11/18) 79 students kidnapped from boarding school
In an attack reminiscent of Boko Haram’s abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria, suspected secessionists in Cameroon kidnapped dozens of pupils from a boarding school. The attackers arrived at the Presbyterian secondary school Nkwen in Bamenda, the capital of the English-speaking north-west region, on the night of 4 October. It is reported that over 80 people were kidnapped in the attack, including the school principal and two other employees, as well as 79 students. Security guards who usually man the entrance to the school were nowhere to be seen, according to onlookers. One student, who witnessed the attack but was left behind, described being woken up in the middle of the night by about seven armed men who beat and slapped the children as they forced them to leave their dormitories. Sources say the kidnappers have not yet asked for any ransom, but have demanded the school to send the remaining students home. A similar incident took place in September in nearby Bafut, where nine students were kidnapped from another Presbyterian-owned boarding school by suspected secessionists. The students were released after three days in captivity, following ransom payments of CFA 1m (USD 1,730) for each of the victims. Other kidnappings have been recorded at other schools, but Bamenda’s incident is the largest so far. FULL ARTICLE (1)
3. (PHILIPPINES, 05/11/18) Hostage released by ASG after more than a year.
According to the Philippine Army, troops in Sulu rescued a kidnap victim who had been held by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) for over a year. The alleged rescue took place on 1 November, in the locality of Panamao, during an armed encounter between the armed forces and ASG militants. However, after his release, farmer Jose Duterte stated presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza had negotiated his release with the militants and that his family paid an “undetermined” amount of ransom for his freedom. The farmer was taken along with his wife from their home in Siocon town, Zamboanga del Norte, on 3 March 2017. His wife was released on 21 August, also after the family paid a ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)
4. (PHILIPPINES, 04/11/18) ASG kidnappers arrested during ransom payment
Four ASG militants, who kidnapped the daughter of a businessman in Tawi-Tawi a few days ago, were arrested in an entrapment operation in Jolo, Sulu, on 3 November. Reportedly, the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of P 1 million (USD 18,700), which was to be paid in two instalments. After the first payment was made by the family, it was agreed the victim would be released during the rendezvous for the payment of the second instalment. However, this was monitored by the Philippine security forces, who arrested the militants at the meeting. The victim was rescued during the operation. FULL ARTICLE