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Kidnap & Ransom update October 14, 2018


1. (VENEZUELA, 12/10/18) Guyanese expatriate detained in Venezuela

Maryori Medina Parra, a Guyanese pulmonologist was illegally detained by officials of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) on 6 October. According to eyewitnesses, the officers forced their way into the doctor’s home through the balcony. The expatriate reportedly managed to communicate the situation to her sons (who do not live in Venezuela), just before she was taken away. The officers then took her to Caracas, where a judged charged her with unspecific “computer crimes”. According to relatives of the victim, her lawyers have not been able to gain access to her file and were also denied access to the detainee, claiming she already had a lawyer, a public defender. FULL ARTICLE


2. (TANZANIA, 11/10/18) Africa’s youngest billionaire abducted in Tanzania

The man said to be Africa’s youngest billionaire has been kidnapped by masked gunmen in Tanzania’s economic capital, Dar es Salaam. Mohammed Dewji, 43, was abducted outside an upscale hotel in the area of Oysterbay, as he was going for his routine morning workout. Eyewitnesses said the kidnappers fired shots in the air before driving away with the billionaire. Dewji had no security guards with him and had driven himself to the gym. Three people have been arrested in connection with the incident and two of the abductors are believed to be foreign nationals, police added. The motive for Dewji’s abduction is still unclear, although police maintain the thesis of a “random abduction”. Financial magazine Forbes puts Dewji’s wealth at $1.5bn (£980m), and has described him as Tanzania’s only billionaire. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

3. (NIGERIA, 11/10/18) Egyptian national kidnapped in Nigeria

Egypt’s foreign ministry announced on 11 October that officials at the Egyptian embassy in Nigeria are working with Nigerian authorities to help secure the return of an Egyptian citizen who was kidnapped in the African country. The foreign ministry has assured the family of Reda El-Siyad Hassanein, that Egypt will take all necessary steps to secure his return as soon as possible. No further have been revealed on the case. FULL ARTICLE (1)

4. (NIGERIA, 11/10/18) Football professional player kidnapped in Abia State

Sunday Akleche, player for Nigerian football club Lobi Stars, was kidnapped by gunmen on 9 October in Aba, Abia State. Akleche was abducted along with his fiancé on the Aba- Port Harcourt Expressway en-route to the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) camp in Abia State. One of Akleche’s relatives said the kidnappers have already stablished contact with the family and in a conversation on 10 October, have demanded a N50million (USD 137,000) ransom. The relative also said the player has not been allowed to talk to his family. The incident has been already reported to security agencies in Abia State and a search operation is reportedly underway. FULL ARTICLE

5. (BURKINA FASO, 11/10/18) Family of Australian hostage release video appeal to his captors

On the 1,000th day since the kidnapping of Dr. Kenneth Elliott, his family released a video appeal to his captors. In the video uploaded on Elliott’s Facebook page, his wife and son speak in Fulfulde (a language spoken in northern Burkina Faso) and French, pleading for the elderly man’s release and for information on his health condition. The family also invite the kidnappers to communicate directly with them, through an app account specially created for this purpose. The Australian physician was abducted on the night of 15 to 16 January 2016, from his clinic in the city of Djibo, Burkina Faso. He was kidnapped alongside his wife, who was released the next month. The kidnapping was claimed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The last proof of life for Elliot was broadcasted on July 2017. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)


6. (INDIA, 11/10/18) Kidnapping scam targeting relatives of missing persons

Delhi Police has exposed the unique modus operandi of a local gang, whose members have been demanding ransom from relatives of missing persons. The police suspect the gang was collecting data of missing people from the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB). It has also been found that the fraudsters operate from running trains, so their location cannot be traced. Additionally, the sim cards used in these operations have been acquired by identity fraud. FULL ARTICLE

7. (PHILIPPINES, 12/10/18) ReCAAP warns on imminent kidnapping threat off southern Philippines

Piracy reporting centre ReCAAP has warned that although piracy in Asia has reached its lowest point in a decade, an imminent threat of abduction of crew from merchant ships remains in waters between the southern Philippines and eastern Malaysia. In its report for Q3 2018, ReCAAP said there have been two incidents of kidnap for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, comprising of one actual incident and one attempted kidnapping. ReCAAP strongly advises vessels transiting the region to maintain enhanced vigilance for the presence of suspicious small craft and advises ships to re-route if possible. FULL ARTICLE (1)