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Kidnap & Ransom update September 23, 2018


1. (US, 20/09/18) Kidnapping victim escapes in Alabama

A man who was kidnapped at gunpoint in Pell City was able to escape his captors on 20 September in Pinson. The victim was taken to the hospital with gunshot injuries. The kidnapping was reported to the police by the grandmother of the victim about 1 am on 20 September. The woman stated her grandson had been abducted a couple of hours prior by four armed people who had come to their home, taking the victim away from his bed. By 6 am, Pell City police received a call from the victim, who said he was in Pinson and had been shot before being able to escape. One suspect was arrested the next day. Investigators believe the kidnapping was the result of a dispute over some property. FULL ARTICLE

2. (CUBA, 20/09/18) Spanish mum and daughter kidnapped during trip to Cuba

Two Spanish citizens, mother and daughter, have been released after being abducted by a so-called sorceress (santera) in Cuba. The 43-year-old woman and her six-year-old daughter traveled to the island on 5 September looking to take part in a ritual that would allegedly help them with medical issues. Their relatives, after losing contact with them, alerted the Spanish authorities on their disappearance. The Spanish authorities, in liaison with their Cuban counterparts, and with the participation of private investigators hired by the family, rescued the victims on 11 September. The suspect was arrested in the operation. Investigations are underway, trying to determine if the woman is implicated in additional such crimes. It is not clear if the Spanish nationals were being held in expectation of a ransom payment. FULL ARTICLE


3. (PORTUGAL, 21/09/18) Chinese loansharking gang tried for kidnapping of compatriots
Six Chinese nationals, four men and two women, are being tried at a Portuguese court of lending money to compatriots for gambling at casinos, in exchange for high interest rates, and then violently extorting the payment of the loans. The suspects are being tried for usury, robbery, kidnapping and criminal association. The gang was arrested after one of their victims, Lei Zoang, reported having being held by the accused. Zoang said he was forced into a car and taken to a house, where his hands and feet were tied, being kept there for a period of time until he paid his debt. The man reported being physically and psychologically assaulted. It is not clear when the event took place and what was the amount of the debt. FULL ARTICLE


4. (GUINEA, 19/09/18) Tanker ransacked by pirates off Conakry

A product tanker was attacked by a group of armed pirates on 17 September while at an anchorage off the coast of Guinea in West Africa. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre reported the tanker was at anchor at the Conakry Anchorage when it was boarded by four armed robbers after midnight. During the attack, the pirates fired at the bridge windows and gained access into the accommodation. As the crew locked themselves in the ship’s citadel, the pirates ransacked the ship’s cabins and escaped with personal belongings. A navy boat later arrived to provide assistance. The tanker has been identified as the 2015-built STI Hammersmith, belonging to Scorpio Tankers, which had arrived in Conakry from Las Palmas, Spain. All crew were reported safe after the incident. FULL ARTICLE

5. (NIGERIA, 19/09/18) Boko Haram releases execution video of aid worker and threatens similar fate for remaining hostages

An NGO affirmed it received a video showing the execution of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) worker Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, held hostage since March. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the video, released by the Barnawi faction of Boko Haram, shows Khorsa beign shot from behind. A spokesperson for the group describes the video as a “message of blood,” and accuses the Nigerian government of ignoring past written and audio messages. The man warns that the other nurse and midwife (who were kidnapped alongside Khorsa in March) will be executed in similar manner in one month, as well as Leah Sharibu, a Christian schoolgirl taken in February from Dapchi. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2) (3)

6. (NIGERIA, 23/09/18) Nigerian pirates kidnap 12 crew from Swiss cargo ship

Pirates kidnapped 12 crew members from a Swiss cargo vessel in Nigerian waters. Massoel Shipping said its vessel, MV Glarus, was carrying wheat from Lagos to Port Harcourt when it was attacked on 22 September, 45 nautical miles from Bonny Island in the Niger Delta. The gang reportedly boarded the Glarus with long ladders, cutting the razor wire on deck. The pirates left with 12 of the 19 crew as hostages. Seven of the abducted crew members are from the Philippines, while the other five are from Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia. The pirates also destroyed much of the vessel’s communications equipment in the attack. FULL ARTICLE


7. (MALAYSIA, 18/09/18) Sabah residents fear illegal immigrants helping kidnappers in the area

Illegal immigrants from southern Philippines living in the Malaysian state of Sabah are believed to have helped kidnappers in the recent abduction of two Indonesians, providing them with inside information about their victims, according to security agencies and a former militant. The incident took place in the early hours of 11 September, when two masked men armed with M16 rifles stormed a fishing vessel in the waters off Semporna town and grabbed the two fishermen. The kidnapping was the first such case in almost two years. There are concerns that militants could strike again in a bid to raise funds for terror activities in the southern Philippines, according to a warning from an intelligence official and a former militant. A combination of Islamic State’s (IS) call to arms in Mindanao and the Philippine military’s operations against the militants are said to be pushing the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to seek funds through kidnapping.

8. (PAKISTAN, 20/09/18) Four victims recovered, three kidnappers arrested

On 19 September, Kohat police recovered four hostages and arrested three alleged abductors. The suspects had demanded Rs4 million (over USD 32,000) as ransom for the release of the abductees. The victims had been lured to Orakzai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in an alleged car sale. FULL ARTICLE