Kidnap & Ransom update September 27, 2018
27-Sep-18

AMERICAS

1. (COLOMBIA, 25/09/18) Farmer rescued after four days in captivity

On 25 September, local security forces rescued a farmer after he had been held captive by a criminal gang for four days. The victim was originally kidnapped on 21 September in Comuna 4 of Buenaventura. The kidnappers had reportedly demanded a ransom of 100 million pesos (USD 33,200) for the release of the victim, but prior to any ransom payments being made, police initiated a security operation and located the victim to a house in the Viento Libre neighbourhood. An armed kidnapper guarding the victim attempted to flee but was apprehended by police. At present, police are searching for the remaining individuals of the kidnapping gang. FULL ARTICLE

2. (COLOMBIA, 25/09/18) Army rescues 17 EPM contractors abducted last weekend

On 25 September, the National Army confirmed that it had rescued 17 contractors of energy firm EPM, who had been kidnapped the week prior by members of the Clan del Golfo (Gulf Clan) in a rural area of Zaragoza. The criminal gang reportedly demanded a large ransom for the release of the employees, though authorities confirmed that no ransom payment was made by EPM. It has not yet been disclosed what the total ransom amounted to. When EPM received the ransom demand, they contacted authorities who launched a security operation to locate the abductees. They managed to locate the site in the village of El Pato, when an armed exchange took place before security forces managed to apprehend two of the perpetrators, one of whom was injured, whilst the rest escaped. The 17 kidnap victims were unharmed during the firefight. Security operatives also seized 20 rifles, a machine gun, a submachine gun, mortars, 84kg of explosives, approximately 8,000 rifle cartridges of different calibers, eight fragmentation grenades, and spare parts for armament pieces. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (MEXICO, 26/09/18) One kidnapping every four hours in Mexico

According to a report released by the NGO ‘Stop Kidnapping in Mexico’, over the past six years, there have been approximately 167 kidnappings per month, which equates to one every four hours. February 2014 was reportedly the worst recorded month over the time period, with 310 cases registered. Figures now have reduced to approximately 110 kidnappings per month. Between December 2012 and August 2018, most kidnappings were recorded in Mexico State (with 2,584 reported cases), followed by Tamaulipas and Veracruz (with 1,294 and 1,264 kidnappings respectively). FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

EUROPE

4. (CYPRUS, 25/09/18) Two boys abducted and later found unharmed

On 25 September, two ten-year-old school boys, both Greek nationals, were abducted from their primary school in Larnaca. The perpetrator had reportedly masqueraded as a teacher and asked the victims to assist him in carrying some books from his car. When the boys followed the 35-year-old kidnapper, he abducted them, triggering the alarm back at the school when the boys failed to show up in class. A largescale search operation was initiated, including by air and on land. Ports and airports were also alerted. After witnessing came forward, the victims were found nearby the school unharmed on the same day, having been taken to an apartment in the Kamares area, where the perpetrator was also apprehended. The Cyprus Justice Minister has claimed the man was not known to police, and that the motives behind the incident remain unknown, though he suggested it may have been kidnapping for ransom as police had ruled out sexual predation. The suspect subsequently claimed to authorities that his motives were financial. Kidnapping for ransom cases are very rare in Cyprus. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

AFRICA

5. (NIGERIA, 25/09/18) Abducted Borno politician’s sons released

Following the kidnapping of two sons of Borno State chairman of the APC, Kashim Dalori, on 20 September, police announced their successful rescue this week. The two young boys were separately abducted from their schools in Maiduguri, and a N20 million (USD 55,000) ransom demanded for their release. Dalori agreed to pay the ransom, but in conjunction with the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), had fitted a tracking device to the package containing the money. After delivering the ransom, SARS operatives were able to locate the perpetrators and arrest four of them. FULL ARTICLE (1)

6. (NIGERIA, 25/09/18) Wanted kidnapper arrested in Imo State

According to the Imo State Commissioner of Police, authorities have arrested the most wanted kidnapper in Imo State following a security operation in Ihiagwa, the Owerri West Local Government Area (LGA) of the state. The wanted criminal, Chukwuemeka Uzoukwu, was reportedly the leader of a kidnapping gang who had been responsible for several criminal incidents in recent months. Most notably, his gang had abducted a government worker of the National Population Commission in Onuimo LGA in July, shooting his police orderly in the process and stealing his assault rifle. The victim was later released following the payment of a N5 million (USD 14,000) ransom. During the arrest of Uzoukwu in Owerri West by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) agents, he and his gang reportedly resisted and opened fire. During the armed exchange, Uzoukwu sustained gunshot injuries to his left leg before being arrested. Several other members of his gang were also apprehended during the operation. FULL ARTICLE

7. (NIGERIA, 25/09/18) 16 miners abducted in Kaduna

The Kaduna Police Command confirmed that on 25 September, 16 miners were abducted by armed bandits in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area (LGA), near Bogoma Village. The miners were travelling in a truck, which was intercepted whilst they were returning from a mining site. It has been reported that the criminal gang have begun communicating with family members of the victims to demand ransom payments, but at present, the ransom figures are yet to be disclosed. Police have initiated investigations to track down the bandits and release the victims. Birnin Gwari is reportedly one of the worst affected areas by banditry in Kaduna State, with high levels of criminality and kidnapping for ransom cases. FULL ARTICLE (1)

8. (NIGERIA, 24/09/18) Security operations in Borno rescue 73 abductees

On 24 September, Nigerian security forces killed seven Boko Haram militants and rescued 73 people from captivity in two separate operations that targeted the insurgent group in the Sirdawala and Valley of Gwoza Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Borno. One soldier was reported to have sustained injuries during the operations. FULL ARTICLE (1)

MIDDLE EAST

9. (SYRIA, 25/09/18) Idlib a hotbed of criminal kidnapping

Due to heightened levels of insecurity in the Syrian province of Idlib, there has reportedly been exponential growth in kidnapping for ransom cases by criminal gangs operating in the region. It was reported that on 25 September, a man who had been kidnapped from the Idlib countryside two months ago, was released in Idlib City after a ransom 138 million Syrian pounds (USD 268,000) dollars was paid by his family, having negotiated down from the original asking price of 460 million Syrian pounds (USD 900,000). The exchange of money for the release of the victim was also allegedly made in front of Nusra soldiers in broad daylight, indicative of the inability or disinclination of security forces to maintain law and order in the region. Prior to this, it was reported that ransom payments of approximately USD 120,000 were made in late August to secure the release of the Director of Health and a doctor in rural Latakia. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

10. (BANGLADESH, 25/09/18) Grocer abducted in Cox’s Bazar

On 25 September, a group of approximately 10 armed kidnappers abducted a 26-year-old grocer whilst he was returning home from work. The victim’s father subsequently received a phone call from the perpetrators demanding a Tk 5 lakh (USD 6,000) to secure his release. At present, an investigation into the incident is ongoing, with local sources claiming the leader of a known kidnapping gang, from the nearby town of Naikhongchari, is responsible. FULL ARTICLE

11. (INDIA, 26/09/18) Businessman freed by authorities in Kancheepuram

On the evening of 25 September, the owner of a chain of retail supermarkets was kidnapped by a gang of masked men whilst returning home in Kancheepuram. The kidnappers bundled the victim into a minivan before contacting his son and demanding a ransom of Rs 50 lakh (approximately USD 68,800) for his release. The victim’s family subsequently contacted the authorities and informed them of the incident. By tracking the location of the mobile phone used to make the ransom call, police were able to locate the criminal gang the following day. After realising they were being tracked by police, the perpetrators released the victim in a nearby village and escaped. Investigations into their whereabouts remain ongoing. FULL ARTICLE

12. (MALAYSIA, 25/09/18) Large ransom demanded for Indonesian fishermen

On 25 September, the Sabah Police Commissioner announced that the abductors of two Indonesian fishermen had contacted the wife of one of the victims to demand a large ransom for their release. The fishermen were originally kidnapped on 11 September off the waters of Semporna. On 18 September, the ransom call was made, with the perpetrators demanding RM 4 million (USD 967,000). No time frame was given for the ransom payment to be made. FULL ARTICLE (1)