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Kidnap & Ransom update October 16, 2018


1. (PANAMA, 14/10/18) Three Syrians arrested for kidnapping of Palestinian businessmen

Three Syrian citizens were apprehended by Panamanian police, suspected in the kidnapping of Palestinian businessmen Ciad Shaker Abu Awad and Monir Ibarah, on 1 October. Police investigations have revealed the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of USD 1 million. After several unsuccessful attempts to extort the money from the victim’s relatives, the kidnappers decided to release the hostages late on the same day. The Syrian nationals are reportedly accused of having made the phone calls to the victims’ relatives. Three local nationals, including a former police officer, have also been apprehended for their participation in the kidnapping. FULL ARTICLE

2. (BRAZIL, 12/10/18) Brazilian police unveil plan for terror attacks and abduction of authorities

The Brazilian Federal Police announced that it discovered and foiled a plan by criminal group First Command of the Capital (PCC) to carry out bomb attacks targeting public agencies and kidnap government officials during the presidential elections on 28 October. The aim of the attack was to create widespread panic and force the central government to agree to a number of demands. The first stage of the plan included the detonation of a car bomb in the parking lot of the headquarters of the National Penitentiary Department (DEPEN) in Brasilia. After the explosion, and under the threat of new attacks, the group would demand to let high-security prisoners to receive women for intimate visits and cease the recording of their conversations with lawyers. If the authorities did not give in, other public buildings, including federal courts and government buildings, would be blown up, as well as energy towers that supply large industrial areas and major cities. The other part of the plan included the kidnapping of important government figures, to demand the release of PCC leaders from prison. It is reported the group already counted with information on the routine of several officials. The Federal Police guaranteed that it foiled the whole plan and disbanded the cells that would execute it. FULL ARTICLE


3. (RUSSIA, 15/10/18) Amnesty International researcher allegedly kidnapped in southern Russia
Amnesty International researcher Oleg Kozlovsky has given details about his alleged abduction and torture at the hands of security officers in the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia. Kozlovksy reportedly travelled to the region’s capital, Magas, on 5 October to document the ongoing protests against a controversial border deal with Chechnya. On 6 October, a man allegedly showed at his hotel room, offering an introduction to a protest leader. He agreed to go with the man who took him into a car where he was met by other two men who presented themselves as law enforcement officers. After taking his belongings and interrogating him, he was taken to a field, where he was stripped of his clothes. The men then took photographs and threatened to publish them on the internet, also threatening violence against his family, and conducting mock executions. Kozlovksy was reportedly beaten and left with several broken ribs. It is reported the assailants later escorted Kozlovksy to the airport, to board a flight to Moscow. This is not the first time researchers and journalists have been met with violence inside the Ingushetia. In 2016, men in balaclavas carried out an arson attack on a minibus carrying journalists and human rights activists. It was generally thought the attacks was masterminded and executed by Chechen security forces. FULL ARTICLE (1)


4. (NIGERIA, 13/10/18) Additional details emerge on kidnapping of Egyptian in Nigeria

Nahla Mohammed, the wife of kidnapping victim Reda El-Siyad Hassanein, in an interview with Egyptian media, has revealed details on the case. According to Mrs. Mohammed, her husband had travelled to Nigeria for work on 4 October, after contracting with a government company there to build infrastructure for an oil project. Three days later, on 7 October, she received a phone call from her husband, where he communicated he had been kidnapped and that his captors demanded a sum of USD 1 million for his release. In following calls, the kidnappers continuously demanded the transfer of small amounts via mobile, in order to fund the ransom calls. Mrs. Mohammed said the last communication with her husband took place on 11 October, when he reaffirmed the ransom demand and said his captors had placed a deadline of three days (14 October), after which he would be killed if no payment was made. Mrs. Mohammed stated all the calls received from her husband have been recorded and assessed by Egyptian authorities. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (MADAGASCAR, 15/10/18) French businessman kidnapped in Antananarivo

Sabir Moulou, the owner of Principal Pharmacy in Antananarivo, was kidnapped in the afternoon of 13 October in the upscale and highly-guarded neighborhood of Ivandry, Antananarivo. The victim, a French national of Indian origin, was taken by five men, who armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, entered his home and at gunpoint threatened all the family members. Reportedly, no ransom demand has been received yet. FULL ARTICLE (1)

6. (NIGERIA, 16/10/18) Boko Haram militants kill kidnapped aid worker

Hauwa Mohammed Liman, who worked in a hospital supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was killed by a Boko Haram faction after the deadline set by the group expired. Liman was one of three aid workers kidnapped by the extremists during a raid on the town of Rann, Borno state, in March. The militants said in a video posted online last month that they would kill at least one hostage once a deadline due to elapse on 15 October had passed. It is unclear what were the militants’ demands for the release of the hostages. In a video released today, the militants said Liman deserved to be killed because she had abandoned Islam by working for the ICRC. She is the second member of the group to have been executed by Boko Haram. Leah Sharibu, an ICRC midwife, was killed last September. In addition to the remaining ICRC staff, one of the 100 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in Dapchi in February is also being held hostage. While other students were released weeks after the abduction, Sharibu, the only Christian among them, was held back for refusing to convert to Islam. The militants said the teenager would be kept as a slave. Analysts believe the Boko Haram breakaway faction responsible for the kidnapping and killing of the ICRC staff has a new hardline leadership following a recent internal struggle. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)


7. (PAKISTAN, 13/10/18) Oil company staff abducted in North Waziristan

Two engineers working for an oil and gas exploration company in villages of North Waziristan, in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), were abducted by unknown armed men on 13 October. Official sources said the two victims, Zahid Mehmood and Mumtaz Ali Shah, were kidnapped by militants from Abakhel olam Lagad area, near the border with Afghanistan. The authorities believe the abductees have probably been taken into Afghanistan. Following the incident, security forces cordoned off the area and started search operations for the recovery of the two engineers. FULL ARTICLE