Kidnap & Ransom update September 17, 2018
17-Sep-18

AMERICAS

1. (ARGENTINA, 16/09/18) Daughter of businessman kidnapped and then released

On 16 September, the 18-year-old daughter of wealthy businessman Luis Sterlicchio, was kidnapped from the family mansion in Pergamino, Buenos Aires province. The two kidnappers arrived at the home in an old pickup truck, and shot the girl’s custodian before abducting her and stealing her Jeep. They later contacted the girl’s father to demand an undisclosed ransom payment, which he agreed to pay, leaving the money at a specified route along Route 8. The victim was however released without the assailants taking any of the ransom payment. It currently remains unknown why the victim was released, though it assessed as probable that the perpetrators panicked, suggesting the crime was improvised. The police are currently investigating the owner of the pickup truck used in the kidnapping, who is reportedly a close acquaintance of the victim’s custodian who was shot and injured during the attack. FULL ARTICLE

2. (COLOMBIA, 15/09/18) Teen girl kidnapped by ELN in the Choco region

Following the release, on 12 September, of six people kidnapped in August by the National Liberation Army (ELN), reports emerged on 15 September that the group had kidnapped a 15-year-old girl on 7 September. The incident occurred in the northwest of the country, when gunmen abducted the girl from her home in Orupa, in the Choco region. The group since claimed the girl was a military informant, and that she would be released after “routine procedures”. News of the girl’s kidnapping has been assessed as a significant hindrance to proposed peace talks, which the government had intended to reopen with the militant group last week. ELN is currently believed to be in possession of ten hostages, which the government has demanded be released before peace talks can be resumed. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (COLOMBIA, 14/09/18) Owner of a contractor company rescued

On 14 September, the owner of a contractor company, Domingo Rojas Diaz, was rescued after being held captive for 72 hours. The 45-year-old was abducted whilst driving his truck in Quibdo, the town in which he lives, on 10 September. The following day, the kidnapper’s contacted the businessman’s family and demanded a ransom of USD 33,000 for his release. They also claimed to be ELN militants, though after investigations, police discovered this to be false, with the perpetrators instead belonging to a criminal gang. After security operations were launched to rescue the victim, the kidnappers released him in the Gaula area without receiving any ransom funds. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

4. (NIGER, 14/09/18) Boko Haram hostages released after ransom payment made

Following their kidnap from the town of Gueskerou, near Diffa, on 3 September, by Boko Haram militants, the two female victims were released on 14 September. According to local media sources, their release occurred after a ransom payment of USD 60,400 was made to the insurgent group. Two individuals, who served as intermediaries for the exchange, have been detained for questioning in the ongoing investigation. The region has been particularly volatile with regards to kidnap for ransom events, with Boko Haram escalating attacks around the Lake Chad area in recent years. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (NIGERIA, 15/09/18) Boko Haram demands ransom for release of Dapchi captive

According to the lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District, Ali Ndume, Boko Haram is seeking a ransom payment to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, the final Dapchi school not to have been released by the insurgent organisation. Although Ndume didn’t disclose the ransom figure, he suggested Boko Haram is using Leah Sharibu to pressure the Federal Government for more money following a ransom payment that was made in March 2018 to ensure the freedom of the other school girls. It has been observed that, following their release, Boko Haram has escalated their activity around the Sambisa Forest and Mandara mountains. The 110 Dapchi school girls were originally kidnapped in February 2018. FULL ARTICLE (1)

6. (NIGERIA, 15/09/18) Gunmen kidnap family of four near Enugu

On 15 September, a transport vehicle carrying five passengers, was intercepted along the 9th Mile expressway, near Enugu, by a group of gunmen. The driver of the vehicle and one of the passengers were able to escape, though the remaining four passengers were taken captive. According to local reports, the gunmen have established contact with the victim’s father and demanded an undisclosed ransom fee to secure their release. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

7. (SYRIA, 16/09/18) Two Lebanese men kidnapped in Syria rescued

Two Lebanese men, who were kidnapped while traveling in Syria on 11 September to the Al-Suwaydiya governorate, were released on 16 September, according to video footage of one of the victims that was released by a local news outlet. The two men, Firas Al-Sayegh and Basel Al-Ahmadiya, were en route to pick up Ahmadiya’s wife, when they were accosted by armed men, believed to be the perpetrators behind several kidnap-for-ransom cases in the region. Lebanese security forces were reportedly able to track down the victims to a farm near the town of Shahba in the northeastern part of Al-Suwaydiya. When they confronted the kidnappers, the victims were released without any alleged exchange of a ransom payment. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

8. (PHILIPPINES, 14/09/18) Three Indonesian men freed after extended period of captivity
Three Indonesian fishermen, who were kidnapped in January 2017 by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants off the coast of Sabah on Borneo Island in Malaysia, were released on 14 September. Their release was facilitated by the Moro National Liberation Front, a Philippine rebel group that has signed a peace deal with the government. Following the victim’s kidnap in Sabah, they were transported to a jungle hideout in Sulu, southern Philippines, where they were kept for over a year and a half in captivity. At present, conflicting reports have emerged whether or not a ransom payment was made for the release of the fishermen. A regional military spokesman however denied that any payment was made, and instead suggested that the kidnappers released the victims due to the high intensity of security operations in the area. FULL ARTICLE