Kidnap & Ransom update September 21, 2018
21-Sep-18

AMERICAS

1. (CANADA, 19/09/18) Bank employee’s daughter kidnapped for ransom in Sutton

The 12-year-old daughter of a high-ranking bank employee was kidnapped in Sutton, Eastern Townships, on 19 September. The girl, whose mother works for a local Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce branch, was abducted whilst she was on her way to high school. The victim was taken to a vacant house on Fougeres Road that was listed as being for sale. She managed to escape later in the day after the kidnappers left her alone in the house. Quebec police are searching for at least two suspects, who they believe abducted the young girl in a bid to obtain a ransom. The kidnappers, one of whom speaks English and the other French, were seen driving a pale-colored Econoline minivan. Authorities have few details about the suspects and are also looking for someone they believe witnessed the kidnapping. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

2. (MEXICO, 18/09/18) Kidnapped medical student rescued in Xalapa city

On 18 September, the police conducted a raid on a property in the city of Xalapa, Veracruz State, rescuing 19-year-old medical student Lesly Bucio Palma and arresting four kidnappers. Reports indicated one of the abductors was the victim’s ex-boyfriend. Ms Palma was taken outside her home located on 23rd street in Manuel Nieto, Boca del Rio municipality, on 12 September. Her kidnapping was captured on CCTV. The footage shows a white car pulling over outside Ms Palma’s residence, as she is standing by the front door, looking for her keys. Three men dressed in black and wearing black caps got out of the vehicle. Two of the assailants proceeded to detain the victim, while the third fired a warning shot in the air. The attackers then forced Ms Palma into the car and drove off. The kidnappers reportedly contacted Ms Palma’s family to demand a ransom for her release. The amount of the ransom has not been disclosed. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (COLOMBIA, 19/09/18) ELN released kidnapped teenager in Choco

The National Liberation Army (ELN) released 16-year-old Mayerly Cortés Rodríguez after 12 days in captivity. The girl was kidnapped from her home in Orupa, Choco region, on 7 September. Reports of the abduction emerged on 15 September, with the group having claimed the girl was a military informant and would be released after “routine procedures.” The victim was reportedly handed over to Choco authorities alongside her parents on 19 September. Two days prior to the victim’s release, the ELN announced her parents had arrived in the group’s camp. The rebels released an audio recording in which the voices of the Rodríguez family are heard. Rodríguez’s mother stated she and her husband were not being held against their will. Colombian authorities subsequently reiterated demands for the release of all hostages currently held by the ELN, stating the future of the peace talks depended on it. FULL ARTICLE (1)

EUROPE

4. (United Kingdom, 16/09/18) Bristol Airport denied paying hackers

On 16 September, a Bristol Airport spokesman said no ransom had been paid to get the airport’s systems back online after an apparent ransomware attack. Computers running public information boards displaying flight arrival and departure times were taken offline early on 14 September in an attempt to contain a malware infection. Flights were not affected, but contingency measures and manual processes, including whiteboards and marker pens, had to be used in place of the display screens. Operations returned to normal in the evening on 16 September. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

5. (Iraq, 18/09/18) Kidnapped Iraqi journalist’s body found north of Tikrit

The body of a kidnapped Iraqi journalist was found north of Tikrit, Salahuddin province, on 18 September. The victim, Wisam Hassan al-Obeidian, was reportedly shot in the head. Mr al-Obeidian and his uncle were kidnapped at a makeshift checkpoint along the Hawijah-Kirkuk highway in Riyadh, Kirkuk province, on 17 September. According to the police, al-Obeidian’s uncle managed to escape unharmed shortly after the abduction. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

6. (NIGERIA, 19/09/18) Borno state chairman Ali Bukar Dalori’s son kidnapped

Borno State chairman Ali Bukar Dalori’s four-year-old son was kidnapped from Maidiguri Capital School in Maidiguri, Borno State, on 19 September. The child’s teachers reportedly allowed the boy to leave with an unidentified woman, who had asked to take him home. Later in the day, a driver, who was sent to pick up the child, found out the boy was missing and alerted his parents. The authorities were notified shortly thereafter. The kidnappers reportedly contacted Mrs Dalori in the evening on 19 September, stating they would allow her to speak to her son on the next day. In the morning on 20 September, Mrs Dalori was contacted by the abductors again and spoke to her child. There have been no official comments as to whether a ransom was demanded. Meanwhile, at a press conference on 20 September, Police Commissioner Demian Chukwu confirmed the kidnapping and stated rescue efforts are underway. Mr Chukwu also urged politicians to refrain from attacking their opponents. It is unclear whether the kidnapping was politically-motivated or for ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1)

7. (MALI, 19/09/18) Kidnapped director of local NGO freed in Bamako

The director general of the NGO Al Farouk, Ibrahim Kontao, was rescued in Bamako on 19 September, 16 days after his abduction from his home in the city’s Kalaban-coura ACI area. A day after the kidnapping, the abductors contacted Kontao’s family, demanding a CFA 20 million (over USD 35,000) ransom for his release. The ransom was paid in installments through mobile money transfers. The police were monitoring the payments and had also alerted mobile money transfer agents. On 19 September, one of the kidnappers was identified as he was trying to withdraw some of the ransom money from a mobile money transfer agent in Bamako’s Hippodrome area. A group of locals detained the suspect and handed him over to the police. The detainee confessed to his involvement in the kidnapping and informed the police Kontao was being held at a property in Bamako’s Sotuba area. The victim was rescued shortly thereafter and admitted into hospital. Mr Kontao’s family subsequently announced he was in good health. At least one more suspect has been arrested in relation to the case. It remains unclear how much, if any, of the ransom amount has been withdrawn by the abductors. FULL ARTICLE (1)

ASIA

8. (INDIA, 21/09/18) Hizb-ul-Mujahideen kidnapped four policemen in Shopian

Members of the Kashmiri separatist militant group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen kidnapped four policemen from their homes in a village in Shopian district, Jammu and Kashmir, on 21 September. The militants opened fire as locals attempted to rescue the officers. Reports indicated police and villagers managed to free one of the victims. The bodies of the other three victims were recovered from Wangam area, less than two kilometers away from the village, hours after the abduction. Earlier on 18 September, the militants released a video threatening to kill policemen unless they resigned. Following the execution of the three officers, six policemen took to social media to confirm their resignations. Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has been increasingly targeting security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, with authorities claiming this is due to the fact the group is under intense pressure from the police. Three weeks ago, militants kidnapped three policemen and eight members of officers’ families in southern Kashmir. All hostages were set free in exchange for the release of around a dozen detained family members of known terrorists, including the father of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo. The incident prompted public outrage, with the state police chief having been relieved of his duty and transferred to another position shortly afterwards. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)