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Kidnap & Ransom update October 28, 2018


1. (CANADA, 24/10/18) Indigenous organisation pays ransom to hackers

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) has paid more than CAD 20,000 in bitcoin to a hacker who had infiltrated their computer system and disrupted their internal files and email system. The hacker was reportedly able to steal an extensive range of information from FSIN systems, including members’ details, data on land claims, as well as social insurance number and other employee data. The intrusion had gone unnoticed until a FSIN employee received an email in May, containing demands for a ransom of over CAD 100,000. After some time of not being able to use their computer systems, the organisation negotiated with the criminal and paid some of the ransom. Although the FSIN has since regained access to its files, it is still feared that the criminal may have tampered with some files. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (COLOMBIA, 25/10/18) ELN bought kidnapped businesswoman

After the Colombian High Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos, confirmed that kidnapped businesswoman Diana María Toro Vélez is being held by the Northwestern Front of the National Liberation Army (ELN), reports have emerged that the group bought the victim from a criminal group. According to these reports, Toro Velez was kidnapped on 27 September in Antioquia department, by an organized criminal gang who later sold her to the militant group. According to the Colombian authorities, the militants have only once made contact with the victim’s family to demand a ransom, however, no proof of life has been produced. FULL ARTICLE (1)


3. (IRAQ, 24/10/18) Young tribesman kidnapped in Basra

On 24 October, unidentified individuals kidnapped an Imara tribesman whilst he was driving in the locality of Turaba, in Huwayr, Basra. The victim is a university student, who resides in the same area. The assailants have reportedly demanded a ransom of USD 150,000 for his release. As the victim was abducted near his residence, it is likely that this was a targeted kidnapping. Further supporting this assertion, is the comparatively large ransom demanded, which leads to believe that the perpetrators had prior knowledge of the family’s wealth. CONSTELLIS SOURCE

4. (UAE, 24/10/18) US expat briefly kidnapped and robbed in Dubai

Four men stood trial on 24 October at a Dubai Court on charges of kidnapping and forcible robbery. According to public prosecution records, the four Bangladeshi defendants, kidnapped a US expat on 10 September 2018 after luring him with a low-priced massage service. The victim, an expatriated sales coordinator, said he was walking in the Al Rafaa area when he was approached by the four men, who tricked him into accompanying them to a residential apartment to get a cheap massage. Once there, they held him and robbed him of AED 4,000 (USD 1,100) and his mobile phone, they also intimidated him by taking pictures. FULL ARTICLE

5. (SYRIA, 25/10/18) Egyptian businessman kidnapped for ransom in Swaida

An Egyptian businessman, owner of an import-export company, was released by kidnappers on 24 October after a ransom was paid by his family. The expatriate was kidnapped the previous week in Swaida and later taken to the city of Shiba. The family reportedly paid SYP 25 million (USD 116,360), along with USD 19,000, some gold jewelry and mobile phones. According to local activist, at least 161 kidnappings have taken place in the city in the first half of 2018, with a slight decrease rate observed in the last three months. FULL ARTICLE

6. (YEMEN, 26/10/18) Houthis abduct 20 journalists in Yemen

According to an UN official, Houthi militants kidnapped 20 journalists and media workers in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on 25 October. The victims were allegedly detained during their participation in an event protesting anti-hate speech and incitement to violence against the Yemeni media. The Houthi group has not responded to the statements made by Ishraq Al-Maqtary, the spokesperson of Yemen’s National Commission of Inquiry, affiliated to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). FULL ARTICLE


7. (ZAMBIA, 26/10/18) Police officers and Chinese nationals in court for abduction
Two police officers and two Chinese nationals have been taken to court for allegedly abducting a Chinese national. According to police records, on 30 August 2018, the accused persons abducted Wang Shunxue in Lusaka. The Chinese defendants include a businessman and his translator. No more details on the case have been provided. FULL ARTICLE