12 September A report published by the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) stated that paying ransoms not only fuels kidnappings and terrorist acts but it also endangers the lives and welfare of captives from countries that do not pay such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. While paying ransoms may save lives in the short term, this approach is harmful in the long term. The report goes on to say: “When some governments negotiate on behalf of their citizens, kidnapper expectations and ransoms escalate. Terrorists abuse hostages whose governments refuse to negotiate in order to raise the pressure on countries which do”. According to the report, the US has a policy of not paying ransoms to banned military organisations, a principle it has stood by through the high profile beheadings of several Americans by the Islamic State (IS). “Hostage US”, a charity that supports the families of American victims, estimates that criminals and terrorist groups kidnap between 200 and 300 US nationals each year. The US government estimates terrorist groups collected USD120 million in ransoms between 2005 and 2012 and IS collected USD20 million in 2014 alone. Tom Keating, the report’s co-author and director of Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at RUSI, said there was “no question” these countries (such as France, Italy and Spain who deny paying ransoms) were paying ransoms, in the process prioritising the safety of their individual citizens over collective safety from extremist groups. He added: “There are some useful examples where these huge ransoms have allowed groups like the Taliban to retool and rearm. When countries start paying these sums of money, guess what? They start being more effective”. While the US has banned families and private organisations paying ransoms to terror groups, in 2015 President Barack Obama softened his approach by allowing relatives to communicate with hostage takers without fear of prosecution. The report recommended several options. The first was an enforced ban on all ransom payments to eliminate hostage taking as a valuable source of income; the second was to allow the private sector to negotiate and handle all ransom payments; the third was to allow private payments but make sure they were monitored by governments and international institutions.
7 September It was announced that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Japan will be joining the fight against piracy by Islamic State (IS) inspired pirates in the Sulu and Celebes seas. The announcement came after UNODC and Japan had forged a new partnership in Vienna to develop counter measures to address the increasing maritime threats in the region. Japan has decided to get involved as there is growing concern from Tokyo officials that maritime terrorists could slip into the country which is scheduled the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020. UNODC is expected to bring its anti-maritime piracy campaign expertise from Somalia to the region. UNODC has developed effective measures for identifying and pursuing pirate speedboats and will also deploy maritime police to work closely with their counterparts in terror affected ASEAN countries.
27 September The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) together with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre launched a programme aimed at combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. The 10 day training course, Capacity Building Executive Programme, was for officers with more than 10 years of experience in maritime enforcement. The training was being held in Singapore and Japan and delegates came from Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. The instructors included members of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and the United State Coast Guard. The topics covered included: Trends and Developments in Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, Best Practices of Information Sharing, Best Practices in the Law Enforcement and Prosecution against Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, International Laws and Regulations related to Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships and Emerging Maritime Threats such as Cybersecurity, Maritime Terrorism etc..
11 September The Police Bureau of Investigation in Bangladesh arrested six men in connection with the kidnapping of Ayub Ali (25), a petrol pump attendant, and Rubel (28), a stone mason, both Bangladeshi citizens from Naogaon, Bangladesh. The two men were kidnapped in Libya on 21 July by a gang lead by Bakir Mia that kidnaps Bangladeshi nationals working in Libya and tortures them while demanding ransoms from their families in Bangladesh. Members of the criminal network have received mobile transactions from the victims’ families on several occasions. The kidnappers have sent videos of the victims being tortured to the families. Ayub’s father, Taslim Pramanik, told of receiving a video showing his son suspended from a ceiling fan, being beaten with a stick and begging for money to be sent via an IMO messaging app. Taslim said he had already sent TK5 lakh (USD6,100) in several transactions. He subsequently spoke to the kidnappers who demanded a further Tk5 lakh. Rubel’s brother, Rabbani, said the family had paid Tk5.2 lakh (USD6,345). A Bangladesh police official said 100 to 120 citizens remain kidnapped all over Libya and they suspect a 20-25 strong syndicate comprised of Bangladeshis is behind the kidnappings. The families of victims pay via bKash, a mobile finance microtransaction service. The ransom money is withdrawn from bKash agents by the wives of the kidnappers in Bangladesh and distributed among the other kidnappers via bKash again. Three of the suspects arrested were agents with bKash..
24 September A woman, Najah Al-Thani, a resident of the Tablino neighbourhood in Benghazi, was found wandering in front of the Benghazi Medical Centre showing signs of torture on her body. She had been kidnapped from outside the women’s Eve World Club by a gang of women who injected her with a narcotic substance and put her in a car. The kidnappers later contacted her family and demanded a ransom for her release. Hours after the ransom had been paid, she was discovered in front of the medical centre.
28 September After travelling to Mali to provide their kidnapping negotiating expertise and obtain intelligence, two agents from el Gaula de la Policia of Colombia published a report covering the kidnapping of Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, a Colombian national, on 7 February 2017. The report said that the kidnapping was for financial gain and that the victim had been kidnapped by a criminal gang and then sold on to an Islamist group. Although there was little sign at present that negotiations were about to come to a successful conclusion shortly, the agents were optimistic of a negotiated settlement. They also said it was up to the family to resolve the issue as no Government would pay a ransom.
3 September The Imo State Police Command confirmed the kidnap and murder of Reverend Father Cyriacus Onunkwo from the Orlu Catholic Diocese. The spokesman added that the murder of the priest indicated the kidnappers had planned to kill him as no ransom demands were received.
3 September John Bala Gora, a director with the Kaduna State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, was kidnapped at around midnight from his residence in Mararaban Rido, Kaduna, when gunmen invaded his house, fired shots in the air to deter rescuers and took the victim away. They also kidnapped a nursing mother in the neighbourhood and left her three weeks old baby behind. The Deputy Director said that the kidnappers had contacted Mr. Gora’s family and demanded a ransom of N40 million (USD127,000). They also demanded a ransom of N10 million (USD31,750) for the release of the nursing mother. On 10 September, the Kaduna State Police Command confirmed the two victims had been released in the early hours of the morning. The police would not confirm whether a ransom had been paid.
6 September Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State said that the spate of kidnapping and other security challenges in the state were on a downward trend. He made the remarks to journalists shortly after the State Security Council meeting in Warri which occurs every two weeks and is attended by security agents in the state. The Governor commended traditional and other community leaders for their effective collaboration with the state government to engage the youth to embrace peace.
7 September In the latest of a series of kidnappings, gunmen kidnapped 19 bus passengers near Port Harcourt, Rivers State. A police spokesman said the police had managed to rescue 12 of the hostages. There have been at least three attacks against commercial buses in the past four weeks.
8 September Dr. Idiat Adebule, Lagos State Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Education, announced at a meeting with the Head Teachers of primary schools and Principals of secondary schools in the state that day and night guards from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) are to be deployed to public schools across the state. The Federal Government has approved the carrying of arms by the NSCDC members. Hilux vehicles are also being provided to the police by the Ministry of Education.
9 September The Governor of Rivers State announced that four armoured personnel carriers had been given to the police to tackle kidnapping along roads outside Port Harcourt. He added that extra patrol vehicles had been given to the security agencies for motorised patrols on major state and federal highways.
10 September The Commander of NNS Victory in Calabar said that incidents of kidnapping in Cross River State had been greatly reduced although he did not provide figures to support his claim. He added that the reduction was due to the collaborative efforts of the various security agencies.
10 September Moses Yakubu, his bride to be and friends were kidnapped by gunmen while travelling from Kabba, Kogi State, to their engagement party in Akure, Ondo State. The group were travelling from Okone, Kogi State, to Akure when gunmen stopped their vehicle in Akunnu village and fired shots in the air to discourage rescuers. The bride to be was released shortly after the kidnapping but the bridegroom, his best friend, Mark Yinusa, and three women were held hostage in the kidnappers’ den. On 17 September, the Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force announced that Yakubu, Yinusa and the three women had been rescued from inside a thick forest in Akoko area, Ondo State, as a result of intelligence gathering.
14 September Mrs. Florence Popoola (67) was kidnapped after gunmen broke into her residence at Arafomi Quarters, Ikere, Ekiti State. She was taken into the forest and moved from location to location over the four days she was held. She was made to walk long distances in spite of having a bad leg. The kidnappers fed her stale rice meal which made her sick and threatened to make her eat her vomit if her children did not pay the ransom. She also had to beg for water. The kidnappers demanded N1.5 million (USD4,170) for her release but the family were only able to raise N1 million (USD2,775). The kidnappers released her and pointed to a path along which she should walk to meet her children. After about one kilometre, she saw a person who gave her a cellular phone to call her children. The police arrested five suspects and recovered N323,000 (USD900) of the ransom money.
16 September Mary Olaniyan (18), a student at the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State, told of her experiences as a victim of kidnapping that lasted 11 days. Her ordeal began on 1 September when she boarded a taxi in Ondo State colours, outside the college campus to travel home. Two men and a woman also boarded the taxi that already had four men in it. As soon as she was seated in the taxi she lost consciousness and did not regain it until she was inside a building in a thick forest. She discovered she was together with two men and three women who had been kidnapped previously. She said she was given no food and only drank water over the 11 days. She also said the kidnappers were more than just kidnappers but also killed some of their victims and sold their body parts to “big men” who arrived in expensive cars. The “visitors” paid money for things in cellophane bags which she said had to be human flesh. Together with her fellow hostages, she took advantage of a quarrel among the kidnappers over money during which they were distracted. This gave the hostages the chance to run away from the camp. She walked for three days before reaching safety. Some days after her escape, the police arrested some of the kidnappers who admitted to having kidnapped female students from the college.
16 September Niyi Orisawaye, a medical doctor at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile Ife, was kidnapped along with his wife, an employee of Keystone Bank in Ikare, at about 5:00pm as they were driving between Owo and Ikare on their way to Ikare, Ondo State. Their car was intercepted by criminals.
22 September Members of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) rescued seven people who had been kidnapped after a gun battle in the creek at Iba Bridge, Ojo, Lagos State. The Commander of Operations, VGN Ojo, Otumba James Udoma, said: “Seven passengers who were abducted while travelling in a boat were rescued in the early hours of yesterday by VGN Ojo. The kidnappers left three women and a driver and took seven male victims. It was the women who came back and reported to us. We mobilised and went after the kidnappers who had collected over N1 million (USD2,780) from the victims and also inflicted machete cuts on some of them. We pursued them and got the victims rescued. Several of them sustained gunshot injuries but managed to escape. We traced them, following bloodstains, but have not made any arrests so far. We are still combing the creeks. It was in the morning that the policemen from Area E joined us in the operation”.
22 September Police and maritime officials confirmed that pirates attacked a Cameroon-flagged general cargo ship “Donna Simop” near Parrot Island, south of Calabar, Cross River State, during the night of 18 September. It was reported that the pirates arrived in four speedboats, boarded the vessel and kidnapped five men, four Cameroonian crew and a Nigerian passenger.
23 September Delta State Police Command arrested two people in connection with the kidnapping of Mrs. Ekpongbolo Preyor (86), mother of the local senator, Preyor Oboro. Gunmen stormed the victim’s house in Kpakiama, Bornadi Local Government Area, Delta State, before taking her away in their speedboats towards Bayelsa State. Delta State Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Zanna, identified the suspects as Theo Preyor (32), a cousin of Preyor Oboro, and Prince Ali Olubiri (36). The kidnappers kept her in Bayelsa State while they waited for the ransom to be paid. The police rescued her and said she was in good health.
23 September It was reported that over 100 passengers have been kidnapped on seven different routes across the country in 2017. The routes affected include the Obajana-Lokoja, Ajaokuta-Lokoja and Kabba-Obajana roads in Kogi State, the Auchi-Abuja and Benin-Akure roads in Edo State and the Abuja-Kaduna road, Abuja-Kaduna expressway and Birnin Gwari-Kaduna road. On other roads such as the Elele-Isiokopi, Rumuji, East-West and Ndele-Elele roads in Rivers State where kidnapping had not been a problem in the past, criminal elements are now operating. The latest high profile kidnappings of travellers have been in Ondo State with incidents along the Owo-Ikare, Owo-Abuja and Oba-Akoko routes in the past week. Many travellers now avoid the Kaduna-Abuja expressway when travelling to Abuja although this is the shorter route. Others travel in modest, low profile vehicles and during the day as the kidnappers mostly operate early in the morning or late in the evening.
24 September Chief Okorobia, a businessman of Unduwari town, Sothern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, was kidnapped by gunmen who broke into his residence while firing shots in the air to deter rescue attempts. The kidnappers took the victim away to an unknown destination.
24 September Commodore (retired) Jerry Obadara, Special Adviser on Security Matters to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, said in Minna, Niger State, that Kogi State had recorded 167 kidnap cases within one year. He added kidnapping had reached a crisis situation in the state a couple of months previously that had resulted in people avoiding the state. He said this had now changed thanks to the Governor identifying the causes and taking measures to eliminate them.
24 September Gunmen attacked the Ogba Zoo and Nature Park, Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State, kidnapped Dr. Andy Ehanire, Director and Chief Executive, shot dead three policemen who were acting as security to protect visitors, and stole their weapons and ammunition. The incident happened at around 6:00pm. Many of the visitors that included children with their parents, fled as the incident unfolded. An Edo State Police spokesman tried to reassure future visitors by stating the zoo was safe to visit.
25 September Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police , Muazu Zubairu, paraded Okon Edem Udofia (26) who was said to be the leader of a kidnapping for ransom gang that had executed a series of high profile kidnappings in the State. The Commissioner said Udofia had confessed to being the leader of a terror group that specialised in kidnapping wealthy individuals for ransom. According to the Commissioner, Udofia was captured as a result of intelligence that had been provided by local residents. He assured members of the public that their identity would be protected if they provide information.
25 September The Bayelsa State Government condemned an attack by pirates on a tug boat towing a barge at about 06:45am of 22 September at Ekebiri Waterways, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. Three men, two security guards and a crewman, were killed in the attack.
25 September Suspected sea pirates attacked a passenger ship on the Brass waterways, Bayelsa State, killing two people. Local sources said that four gunmen opened fire on the boat at Okoroma killing a young man and a middle aged woman and injuring other passengers. The passenger boat was sailing from Yenagoa to Okpoama, Brass Local Government Area, when the pirates attacked. They also stole valuables belonging to passengers.
27 September Assistant Commissioner of Police Emmanuel Adeniyi and three unidentified members of his family were kidnapped by gunmen on the Dandume-Birnin Gwari road, Kaduna State, when travelling back from Kaduna to Gusau, Zamfara State. The kidnappers stopped the car the victims were travelling in, forced them into another vehicle and drove away. A ransom demand of N30 million (USD83,350) was later received. A businessman, only identified as Danhaza, had been kidnapped along the same stretch of road three days earlier.
27 September Lawrence Adorolo, a Catholic priest, was kidnapped by gunmen at around 6:00pm along the Auchi-Okpella highway, Edo State, as he returned from Auchi to his parish at St. Benedict Catholic Church, Okpella. The Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Rev. Gabriel Dunia, gave the information to journalists at a press conference and added: “The abductors have made contact with the church for ransom. The church does not pay ransom as it is not a profit making organisation”. He called for the unconditional release of the victim.
29 September The Senate approved the death sentence for abduction, wrongful restraint or wrongful confinement for ransom. It also approved a 30 years jail term for anyone who colluded with an abductor. The Senator who sponsored the Bill said it sought to combat and prevent any form of kidnapping in Nigeria by giving wider powers to the Inspector General of Police.
11 September The European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP) said it had organised vital training for the Maritime Police Unit in Mogadishu which will help to enhance a local capability to maintain maritime security. A statement issued by EUCAP said the training included how to plan effective patrols at sea and boarding a vessel that is suspected of being involved in piracy and other illegal activity.
9 September A Chinese businessman was kidnapped in Monte Vista, Cape Town. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded a ransom of R1 million (USD75,400). The family negotiated the amount down to R100,000 (USD7,500) and the victim was released shortly after the payment. On 10 September, the police arrested three suspects in Bloekombos, Kraaifontein, recovered some of the ransom money and a vehicle that had been used for the kidnapping. The police were continuing with their investigations and expected to arrest further suspects.
30 September The police announced that Sadeck Zhaun Ahmed (71), owner of Zhauns Business Opportunity Machines, had been found. He had been kidnapped in Woodstock on 25 July by three armed men while packing items into his car. He was forced into a double cab bakkie that was later found abandoned. A police spokesman said he did not want to divulge further information as investigations were continuing.
4 September After an operation by the police in the Geita and Arusha regions, a man was arrested in a guesthouse in Geita district with Justine Ombeni (2) who he had kidnapped on 1 September and had demanded a ransom of 4 million TZS (USD1,780) for the victim’s release. The arrest came at around 8:00pm on 3 September. The victim had been kidnapped while playing with other children outside his house. The kidnapper had given sweets to three of the children and taken Justine with him saying he was going to buy the boy some juice. The victim’s parents filed a “missing persons” report with the police. On their return home, they found a scribbled telephone number on a piece of paper telling them to call the number. The kidnapper demanded the ransom be paid through M-Pesa, a mobile phone transaction, and warned the victim’s parents not to inform the police or they would receive the child’s limbs. The kidnapper had earlier kidnapped four children aged between 3 and six years and received ransoms of 300,000TZS (USD134) for each victim through M-Pesa mobile transactions. The kidnapper released two of the four victims in Arusha region but the bodies of two others were found in an abandoned pit latrine in the Olkerian suburbs of Arusha city.
AMERICA – NORTH
5 September It was announced in el Diario Oficial de la Federacion (DOF) that a new organisation, la Unidad para el Combate al Delito de Secuestro, would be formed to oversee police actions in fighting kidnapping and would come under the command of el Ministerio Publico de la Federacion. The organisation would be given the human, material and financial resources required to ensure it operated efficiently.
8 September Fatima Altamirano (15), a student preparing to go to la Universidad La Salle, was kidnapped after leaving her house in la colonia Providencia, Ciudad de Mexico, at 5:30am. She normally left accompanied by her father but, on this occasion, he could not go with her. Four hours later, the authorities received a report that a corpse had been found in la colonia El Salado, Los Reyes La Paz. Although the victim had already been killed, at 11:30am, the victim’s father received a telephone call demanding a ransom of 5 million pesos (USD279,300) that was later reduced to 150,000 pesos (USD8,400). The authorities said the victim had been asphyxiated and that they had identified a car in which her body had been carried.
13 September During a press conference, Isabel Miranda de Wallace, la presidenta de la Asociacion Alto al Secuestro, reported that 197 victims had been reported kidnapped during 131 incidents in the country in August compared with 168 victims in July, an increase of 17.26%. The authorities arrested 149 suspects during the month. She added that the number of kidnappings during the Administration of President Nieto Pena had risen to 2,972. The entities reporting the most kidnappings in August were: Estado de Mexico (27); Veracruz (19); Tamaulipas (12); Zacatecas (10); Ciudad de Mexico (9); Tabasco (9); Puebla (5); Oaxaca (5); San Luis Potosi (5); Nuevo Leon (4); Chihuahua (3); Hidalgo (3); Michoacan (3); Morelos (3); Jalisco (2); Baja California (2); Chiapas (1); Guanajuato (1) and Quintana Roo (1).
14 September After being a kidnapping victim for 290 days, Alberto de la Fuente y de la Concha, was released by his kidnappers in Puebla. The victim was kidnapped during the morning of 29 November 2016 as he was returning home after taking his young son to school. His car was intercepted by armed men travelling in a black Land Rover with a Ciudad de Mexico number plate in a street of la colonia Morillotla. The kidnappers forced the victim into their vehicle and drove away. The family worked with trained negotiators from la Fiscalia de Secuestro y Delitos de Alto Impacto (FISDAI) to negotiate with the kidnappers. The family received the first ransom demand 38 days after the victim was kidnapped.
26 September According to a Johns Creek police report, on 13 September a 54 year old woman who wished to remain anonymous, received a call from a scammer using an international number in which he claimed to have kidnapped her school aged daughter, whose name he knew, and was holding her in a van. The woman could hear a child screaming in the background and saying: “I am really scared, Mom”. However, students were at home from school on the day because of Tropical Storm Irma. The woman walked upstairs and saw her daughter in her room and hung up the phone. She then contacted the Johns Creek Police.
AMERICA – CENTRAL
5 September It was reported that Victor Manuel Pineda, a journalist who presented the TV programme “Sin Tabu” and a candidate for parliament, had been kidnapped by armed men as he left his ranch at El Palmar, Cofradia, on 30 August to go to the TV studio. It was reported the kidnappers contacted the victim’s family by telephone and demanded a ransom of USD60,000. On 24 September, the police announced that the victim had been rescued on 22 September in the mountainous region of Santiago de La Masica, Atlantida, after 22 days in captivity. No ransom was paid. Twenty four hours after the victim was rescued, the police arrested two men in la colonia Cerrito Lindo de San Pedro Sula who had been guarding the victim during his captivity. The police said that the kidnappers had demanded USD600,000. One of the arrested suspects admitted to having been involved and said the kidnapping gang consisted of eight people.
7 September The police arrested a man and his wife on suspicion of being involved in the kidnapping of a man in Santa Barbara. The incident happened on 30 August when the victim’s parents started to receive telephone calls from several cellular telephones demanding a ransom of 400,000 lempiras (USD17,100). On 31 August, the kidnappers gave the parents the location where the ransom money was to be delivered but as the parents had not collected the money together, the kidnappers agreed a delay in the payment to 1 September. Agents from la unidad Tigres, Direccion Policial de Investigaciones (DTI) and local police mounted an operation to locate the kidnappers. They followed a vehicle containing Rosa Castellanos and two other people to San Vicente. At the same time, other agents went to a cave where they found the victim with his arms and legs tied.
AMERICA – SOUTH
6 September A woman was kidnapped at around 4:00pm in Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires, by four armed men who forced her out of her car and into their vehicle. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s husband and demanded a sizeable sum of money for her release. The victim was released four hours later in Liniers after her husband had paid the ransom.
6 September A 67 year old woman living in Concordia, Buenos Aires, was contacted by telephone by an unknown person who claimed to have kidnapped her son. The caller demanded a ransom of USD30,000 for his release. The woman delivered 9,000 pesos (USD575) to the nominated location and returned to her home. She called her son’s place of work and was informed he was there safe and sound. It was a case of a “falso secuestro”.
10 September A 70 year old man living in barrio Bella Vista received a call from an unidentified man who said he had kidnapped the man’s son and demanded a ransom of “several thousand USD” for his son’s safe return. The caller gave instructions for the delivery of the money. The man left the money where he had been instructed and someone collected the bag. The man subsequently discovered his son was at home all the time. This type of crime has resurfaced over the last month to the point that el Ministerio Publico de la Acusacion Generalmente has issued an alert.
14 September It was reported that a woman had been the victim of a “secuestro virtual” during which she paid a ransom of 80,000 pesos (USD4,550) for the release of her son who had allegedly been kidnapped. The incident took place in barrio Arguello, Cordoba.
22 September Two kidnapping victims were released in Luis Guillon after being held for two days. The first victim was kidnapped in Lomas de Zamorra when the car he was driving was intercepted by an armed group. The victim’s family paid a ransom of 250,000 pesos (USD14,200) for his release. The second victim was kidnapped in Adrogue when armed men broke into his house, stole a television and kidnapped the man aged 60 years. The kidnappers later contacted the family and demanded a ransom in USD. The police mounted an operation and the kidnappers released the victim when they realised the police were closing in.
25 September Juan De Stefano (82), ex-President of Racing Football Club, was kidnapped by four armed men close to his residence in Avellanada as he returned from a dinner in Capital at 23:15pm. The criminals initially demanded to be taken to his residence but he refused so they forced him into a car and drove away. One of the kidnappers took his mobile telephone and scanned through the list of contacts which included well known political and sporting names. The kidnapper called several numbers before calling the victim’s son and demanding a ransom of 20,000 pesos (USD1,135). The kidnappers gave payment instructions and, after collecting the ransom, released the victim at 2:00am the following morning. The police were not informed until after the victim had been released.
2 September “Yerson”, a commander of the National Liberation Army (ELN), in a rare interview said that Arsen Voskanyan (42), a Russian-Armenian citizen, was shot in April when he grabbed a hand grenade in a bid to escape. “Yerson” added: “The grenade exploded …. Several of our boys were wounded, the entire unit of five boys. He fled, he was shot and killed …. The issue of his body will be negotiated”. Voskanyan had been kidnapped by ELN in November 2016 when he was allegedly collecting endangered, poisonous frogs in the jungles of Choco. ELN claimed he intended to smuggle them out of the country. “Yerson” said ELN had difficulty stopping kidnapping as it was the primary means of financing the group. The government said it knew nothing about ELN’s claim and the last it had heard was a statement by ELN that Voskanyan had escaped. There was speculation that Voskanyan’s death might complicate peace negotiations taking place in Quito, Ecuador. On 5 September, the government urged ELN to hand over the body of the victim to his family. Pablo Beltran, the head negotiator of ELN at the peace talks in Quito, said that the victim had been buried and confirmed ELN were in contact with the Russian embassy in Ecuador.
22 September The police in Cali confirmed that they were trying to mount an operation to rescue Jamundi Guillermo Moncada Bustamante (51), the owner of several hardware stores, who was kidnapped by two armed men as he arrived at his mother’s house in Jamundi during the evening of 21 September. The kidnappers forced their way into his car and drove it away. The victim’s cellular telephone was found abandoned two blocks from his mother’s house. El comandante de la Policia de Cali, general Hugo Casa, said the kidnappers belonged to an organised criminal gang. On 25 September, a gathering of family members, friends and members of the local community took place in el parque principal de Jamundi to call on the kidnappers to respect the life of and release the victim. The family said that there had been no contact from the kidnappers. On 28 September, Governor Dilian Toro announced that the victim had been rescued after a joint operation mounted by the army and police in a mountainous region of La Liberia.
3 September Agents from la Direccion Nacional de Policia Judicial Investigaciones dismantled a gang of kidnappers operating in Quito when they arrested six suspects. The victims had all been kidnapped when taking taxis. A victim would get in a taxi and the driver would then drive a few streets before stopping and picking up his accomplices. The victims were released after paying ransoms of USD120.
19 September Agents with la Subdireccion de Inteligencia de Delitos contra la Propiedad (Sidpro-BAC) arrested two suspects at around 11:30pm in la Union de Bananas, Sur de la Urbe, Guayaquil, on suspicion of being part of a gang dedicated to “secuestro expres” in Guayaquil. That morning, the agents had investigated the “secuestro expres” of two US citizens and used CCTV images to identify the car used by the suspects. Both the men arrested had previous convictions for “secuestro expres” and robbery. The gang operated in areas frequented by tourists such as el Malencon 2000, hotels, bars and in the Miraflores, Sauces, Samanes, Guayacanes and Alborada districts in the north of the city. They used a yellow taxi to carry out their crimes.
1 September Bernard Blatz Friessen (22), a Mennonite farmer, was kidnapped by members of the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), a pro Marxist group with Catholic roots, from a farm close to Lucipar Estancia, la colonia La Yeya,Santa Rosa del Aguaray, San Pedro province, in the north of the country. The victim was driving a pickup truck and his father was following driving a combine harvester. Several armed men opened fire on the two vehicles puncturing the tyres. The attackers pulled the victim from the pickup and took him away. His father tried to run the attackers over with the harvester but the attackers fled with their hostage into the woods. Two weeks earlier, the EPP had kidnapped Franz Hieber Wieler (31), another Mennonite farmer, from a farm a few miles away.
18 September Kerbin Barazate (28), a Venezuelan national employed as a security guard at the US Embassy in Caracas, was kidnapped while patrolling in a van near the Embassy in the Alameda region of Baruta during the night. A colleague who was with the victim managed to escape. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of USD30,000. On 19 September, the Interior Ministry announced that the victim’s van had been found but there was no sign of the victim. On 21 September, the police said the victim had been released the previous day unharmed and without a ransom being paid.
20 September Fermin Marmol, a Venezuelan expert in crime, while lecturing on crime in the country said that up to September the incidents of kidnapping had risen alarmingly this year. The area where kidnapping is worst is Gran Caracas.
21 September Former Police Commissioner Luis Godoy told AFP that the number of kidnappings in the country had increased considerably over the last few years because it was a “fast and effective” means of getting money. He added that it was difficult to determine the number of kidnappings because no official figures are released and 60% of victims do not report a crime. According to non-governmental organisations, in 2016 there were between 1,200 and 1,300 kidnappings throughout the country.
1 September Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese-American and permanent US resident and secretary general of the Dupont Circle-based IJMA3 group, which lobbies for the information and communications technology industry in the Middle East, warned business travellers not to visit Iran. In September 2015, he visited Teheran at the invitation of the Iranian government to speak at a conference on women’s entrepreneurship and employment. He was arrested by the Iranians as he tried to board his flight from Teheran. He was sentenced to 10 years on espionage charges a year after his arrest and was recently informed his appeal against the sentence had been denied. He said: “If you’re travelling to Iran on business or pleasure, let my case be a lesson and a warning to others considering visits to Iran. I’m not the only one. If you value your freedom and are a foreigner, Iran is not safe for you. Don’t come here”. Six other Americans are being held by Iran.
18 September According to a report by London-based Alquds Alarabi, kidnappings have become a daily phenomenon in various parts of Mosul with well-off residents and merchants and their families being frequently targeted. Abu Abdel-Rahmen, a merchant, said his son had been kidnapped four months ago and the kidnappers demanded a ransom of USD60,000. The person who delivered the ransom money said he had also been kidnapped and released after paying a ransom of USD80,000. Another man, Mostafa, said his kidnappers were dressed in military uniform and demanded a ransom of USD30,000. He was released a few hours after the amount was paid. He also said that some of the victims had been executed when their families said they were unable to pay the ransom demanded. A Mosul police source said many armed groups and mobilisation troops do not receive salaries from the Iraqi government which results in ill disciplined elements carrying out kidnappings and armed robberies.
12 September Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that Father Tom Uzhunnalil (“Father Tom”) (57), an Indian national and priest, had been released after spending more than one year as a hostage of unidentified kidnappers. The priest was kidnapped in March 2016 when four gunmen attacked the Missionaries of Charity Home in Aden posing as relatives of one of the residents, killing four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard. During his captivity, the kidnappers released two videos of “Father Tom” that showed him pleading for his life. Concerns for his safety increased in March this year when there were reports he had been taken into captivity by the Islamic State (IS) and an online report claimed he would be “crucified around Good Friday”. However, in April his kidnappers released another video that showed he was alive. A statement was released by the government of Oman that said: ”In response to the Royal Orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and as per a request from the Vatican to assist in rescuing a Vatican employee, the concerned authorities in the Sultanate (of Oman), in coordination with the Yemeni authorities, have managed to find him”. On 13 September, VK Singh, the Indian Union Minister of State for External Affairs when asked at a press conference whether any ransom was paid said “no”. He added: “If a direct method failed to yield results, indirect methods are adopted and the aim is to get the problem solved”.
24 September A report claimed that at least 21 journalists were being held captive after being kidnapped by Houthi militias allied to Iran and armed loyalists who back the ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Houthi militias have “arrested” a number of pro-coup journalists. The coup’s so-called Supreme Political Council President Saleh al-Samad ordered the release of Yahya Abdel-Raqeb al-Jubeihi who is both a journalist and university professor and has been sentenced to death by the Houthi court, but his order has been ignored. Samad also issued directives to free remaining detained journalists but the Houthis have not followed his order.
25 September Colleagues of Danny Lavon Burch, a US citizen and engineer who has worked in the country since the late 1980s and presently works with the oil company, Safer, said that he had been kidnapped by Iran-aligned Houthi forces in Sana’a. A statement on the Houthi-controlled state news agency SABA dated 27 September, denied detaining the victim and said an armed gang was behind “the criminal and cowardly act”. The victim’s wife, Nadia Burch, a Yemeni, said that her husband had been seized on 23 September after taking their children to school. She added that the kidnappers had not contacted her and she was unsure of their identity. A US State Department official said they were aware and concerned about the report of the victim’s disappearance.
5 September The Head of Delegation in Afghanistan of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that two members of staff who had been kidnapped on 8 February 2017 had been released. The two victims were kidnapped in Jawzjan province near the border with Turkmenistan while delivering assistance. Six of the victims’ colleagues were killed in the attack which resulted in the ICRC suspending operations in the country for a time.
14 September The Finnish Foreign Ministry in Helsinki announced that a female Finnish aid worker employed by “Operation Mercy”, a Swedish relief and development NGO in Kabul, had been released after being kidnapped in May when gunmen stormed the guesthouse she lived in Ayoub Khan Mena, Kabul. During her abduction, a German colleague and her Afghan guard were killed. Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini speaking via a video feed from Washington DC, USA, to a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, said Finland did not pay a ransom for the victim’s release adding that doing so would encourage others to carry out more kidnappings.
3 September The Cyberabad police announced the arrest of two men in connection with the kidnapping of the Class 8 student son of Y Giri Babu as he walked to school in Medchai on 19 August. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s father and demanded a ransom of Rs.10 lakh (USD15,575). The police traced the victim to a hideout near Muneerabad village but the kidnappers sensed the police approaching and fled leaving the victim in the hideout. When questioned by the police, the victim said he had been held with his limbs tied and with plaster over his mouth. He remembered that the car in which the kidnappers transported him had a Doraemon sticker and another with “Give Way for Ambulances”. The police identified the car and arrested the two suspects.
9 September The police arrested six suspects believed to have been involved in the kidnapping of Sahil Nagar, the 11 year old son of a textile businessman, in Malleswaram. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of Rs.1 crore (USD155,750). The police rescued the victim 15 hours after he was kidnapped in the Baghpat area of western Uttar Pradesh. The victim was kidnapped late in the evening of 8 September. The family handed over a bag containing Rs.6-7 lakh (USD9,330 – USD10,885) to an unidentified man. However, a senior superintendent of police said that the bag was empty and no money was handed over. The kidnappers released the victim at around 1:00am after giving the slip to policemen wearing civilian clothes. Another police source said that nearly Rs.6 lakh was paid and a location tracing bug was placed in the bag. The source added that a person known to the family was under surveillance.
13 September Sharath N. (19), a polytechnic student and son of Niranjan Kumar, a senior income tax officer from Ullal, Kengen, Bengaluru, was kidnapped after leaving his home at 6:30pm. One hour later he called his mother and everything appeared to be normal. However, when his mother tried to call him at around 9:30pm there was no reply. She sent him a text at 9:45pm saying, if he did not return their call, they would go to the police. Just after 10:00pm, the victim’s parents and sister received a video message on WhatsApp from his telephone in which he said: “Hello Appa, people who suffered because of you have kidnapped me. They want Rs.50 lakh (USD77,750). They will call tomorrow and they are torturing me a lot. Please arrange the money as soon as possible at any cost. The kidnappers have a wide search and have been following my sister. They have a lot of information about her. Please arrange the ransom at the earliest and save me and our family” He also told his parents not to file a police complaint but they ignored his plea and filed one at 10:30pm. The police suspected it was a case of a revenge kidnap. On 22 September, the police arrested five people, including friends of the victim’s sister, after the victim’s body was found near a lake on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The victim’s body had been dumped in the lake but rose to the surface in spite of being weighted down with bricks. The kidnappers tied stones to the body and tried to sink it again. Police sources said that one of the of the arrested suspects, Vishal (22), had run up debts and conceived a plan with his associates to kidnap Sharath and collect a ransom to pay off his debts. The police believed that the victim was killed a couple of days earlier near Ramohalli, Bengaluru.
14 September Chenai police arrested two men for the murder of their friend, Avinash Poojan (28), in Thiuvottiyur. The suspects confessed to killing their friend during a drunken brawl on 7 September. The following day they devised a plan to extract money from the victim’s father, Ajay Kumar (54), an employee of Chennai Metro Rail Limited. They called him and demanded Rs.50 lakh (USD77,760) for his son’s safe release. Kumar reported the matter to the police. The kidnappers did not contact Kumar again as they stepped back to avoid landing in a police net. The police traced the ransom call to the house of one of the suspects.
14 September Dr. Gyan Prakash Pandey was kidnapped in the morning while travelling by bus to his clinic in Mainpuri. Later in the evening, the kidnappers called the victim’s wife and demanded a ransom of Rs.55 lakh (USD85,500) for his release. The police initiated an investigation after the family reported the victim’s disappearance.
16 September Police arrested six suspects in connection with the alleged kidnapping of Fakeer Mohammed (60) of Nethaj Nagar, Tondiarpet, Chenai, on 13 September. The victim was travelling on his scooter to the mosque when five men in a car kidnapped him. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s son, Peer Mohammed, and instructed him to bring “three lakh (USD4,665) to Washermanpet for an emergency”. Two masked men approached Peer and took the money. The victim was later released.
23 September Mumbai police said that a 16 year old boy had gone missing around midday the previous day from his uncle’s house at Sakinaka. Four hours later, the boy’s father received a telephone call from a person who claimed to have kidnapped his son and demanded a ransom of Rs.50 lakh (USD77,760). The caller told the boy’s father to deliver the money at Manor in Palghar and threatened to kill the boy if the family informed the police. The boy’s uncle contacted the police who started an investigation and traced the telephone call to “Laxmi Residency” in Manor. The police raided the house and found the boy with his 19 year old childhood friend who allegedly called the family. The two admitted they had staged the kidnapping so the boy could live with his girlfriend.
24 September A senior superintendent of police of Ranchi District briefed reporters about the operation that was conducted to rescue three youngsters, Shivam, Gaurav and Shanky Singh, who had been kidnapped by the Chandan Sonar gang. The three victims were kidnapped on 5 September after a woman, Alia Ansari (30), had befriended one of the victims, the son of local BJP leader Madan Singh. The senior superintendent said the gang had planned the operation meticulously and had carried out reconnaissance to identify their escape route after the kidnapping. They had started the planning on 22 August. Their original target was Shivam but, as he was accompanied by Gaurav and Shanky, they had kidnapped them as well. The kidnappers contacted the families of the three victims and demanded a ransom of Rs. 20 crore (USD3.11 million) for the release of the three victims. The police mounted an information gathering and surveillance operation which led to a successful rescue operation on 23 September. Fourteen suspects, including Alia, were arrested and a further five are being sought by the police.
23 September Om Sandip Kharat (7), the son of the owner of a fabrication business, was kidnapped in the evening from his housing society parking lot at Chikhali, Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s father and demanded a ransom of Rs.60 lakh (USD93,450) and warned him not to inform the police as there would be dire consequences if he did. The father ignored the threat and contacted the police. The police mounted an information gathering and surveillance operation under a cloak of secrecy. After two days, the kidnappers became concerned and decided to release the victim. They telephoned his father, informed him they had left his son near a godown in Chikhali and apologised for their actions.
7 September Masood Feroze, a Pakistani national living in the United States, was rescued in an intelligence gathering and rescue operation mounted by a joint team from the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and the Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC). The victim had returned home to Bahadurabad from the US to celebrate Eid al Fitr. On 23 August, after buying food for sacrificial animals he was getting into his car when he was accosted by gunmen who forced him into a vehicle and drove him to Gulshan-i-Hadeed. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of Rs.150 million (USD1.43 million). The authorities identified the location in a slum area of Soomar Goth near Gulshan-i-Hadeed where the kidnappers had their hideout and mounted a rescue operation. Two of the kidnappers were killed during a shootout and two more arrested. The victim was rescued unharmed.
16 September Vikki Kumar, son of former JuIamiat-i-Islam-F senator Haiman Das, returned home after being kidnapped from his rice mill in Dera Murad, Jamali area of Nasirabad district, on 20 May 2017. According to sources, the victim was taken to Kalat. When the police learned where he was being held, they approached tribal leaders for help in negotiating the victim’s release. Initially, the kidnappers demanded a huge amount of money in ransom. It was not known if the ransom was paid but the family denied any ransom was paid claiming “Vikki Kumar had been released purely with the efforts of tribal leaders”.
3 September A police source said that Hajar Abdul Mubin (25), aka “Abu Asrie”, a suspected leader of the Filipino Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), and seven ASG members, a Filipino and six Malaysians from Sabah, had been arrested in Kula Lumpur. “Abu Asrie” is believed to be a member of the Jolo, Philippines, based kidnap for ransom group Lucky 9 which has links to ASG. The Malaysians are believed to be from Sandakan, Sabah, and were working in Kuala Lumpur. According to sources, “Abu Asrie” is thought to have slipped into Malaysia in 2015 after meeting with Malaysian Islamic State militants.
7 September The Executive Director at the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre commended Malaysian authorities for their quick actions in thwarting another piracy attack. The Thailand-flagged oil tanker MGT1 was sailing from Rayong port, Thailand, when it was attacked by 13 armed men in two small fast boats east of Kuala Dungun, Kuala Terengganu, western Malaysia. The pirates forced the crew to transfer 1 million litres of diesel to a mother ship. The vessel was carrying 2,2 million litres of diesel. The crew activated the SSAS alarm and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deployed two ships and a helicopter to the scene that reached the vessel ten hours after it was reported missing. Ten pirates were arrested and a search is going on for the other three who escaped in a speedboat. The pirates were suspected to be Indonesian nationals. Acting on information from the captured pirates, the authorities arrested the alleged mastermind at a Malaysian hotel.
14 September According to statistics provided by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), 15 people are still being held captive after being kidnapped from vessels in the waters off Sabah’s east coast. The 15 are from 59 people kidnapped since 16 March 2016. Of the 59 kidnapped, 28 have been released, 11 rescued and 5 killed by their captors. The ReCAAP information did not give the citizenship of the victims but said from March 2016 to August 2017 there had been 13 abductions and 10 attempts to kidnap. Those who remain in captivity come from the crew of five vessels:
20 September Datuk Hasnan Hassan, Chief of Police, Perak State, said that 12 suspects, including the mastermind and three women, one of whom was believed to be working for the Singaporean auxiliary police, were arrested in raids around Penang and Johore Bahru on 5 September, in connection with the kidnapping of a 17 year old boy from his home in Penang on 2 September. The victim was blindfolded, bound and taken to Butterworth, Penang, a distance of about 90kms. His father, a dealer in second hand car parts, lodged a report at the Taiping district police headquarters the day following the kidnapping. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s father and demanded a ransom of RM3 million (USD716,000). After negotiations, the kidnappers accepted a payment of RM300,000 (USD71.600) and, at 8:30am on 5 September, they instructed the victim’s father to go to Johore Bahru to hand over the money. After the victim’s father had handed over the money, the police arrested eight suspects in Johore Bahru and also detained two suspects at around 10:30pm on Penang Island who were with the 17 year old victim in a car. The police recovered RM175,400 (USD41,860) of the ransom money.
1 September Feroza Hugasan Mindoon (25) was kidnapped from her family’s home in Barangay Malipot, Siocon town, Zamboanga del Norte, at around 11:30pm when armed men broke into the house. The kidnapping came a day after Jessica Duterte (52) was released after being kidnapped along with her husband, Jose, from Barangay Santa Maria, Siocon town, on 3 March. Her kidnappers had demanded a ransom of P50 million (USD1 million) but it was not known if any ransom had been paid. The Dutertes are not related to President Duterte.
6 September Jelster Ed Quimbo (28), a businessman and son of Eddie Quimbo, mayor of Labason town, Zamboanga del Norte, was kidnapped at about 6:45pm by six gunmen believed to be members of a kidnapping for ransom gang. The kidnappers forced their victim into a van and sped away towards Gutalac. About ten minutes after the kidnapping, the van was found abandoned in Barangay Osukan, Labason. It was thought the kidnappers may have boarded a motorboat.
7 September Brigadier-General Cirilito Sobejana told reporters that soldiers had rescued two Indonesian hostages after a firefight that killed five Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militants on Jolo Island, Mindanao. He said that after the firefight the troops intercepted a van which was carrying the two Indonesians and rescued them unharmed. The hostages were Indonesian fishermen who were kidnapped aboard a Malaysian registered boat in waters near Sabah, Malaysia, in November 2016.
16 September Government forces rescued Father Teresito “Chito” Suganob and another hostage of the Maute terror group from Marawi City. Father Suganob, the vicar-general of the prelate of St Mary Church in Marawi, was kidnapped along with 240 other people by the Maute group when it attacked Marawi City on 23 May. The group released a video showing Father Suganob appealing to President Duterte to give in to the demands of the extremists and withdraw government forces from Marawi City and the entire Lanao del Sur.
26 September A former hostage of the Maute Group in Marawi, Lordvin Acopio, a teacher at Dansalan College, said he saw at least 11 foreign fighters, 7 Indonesians, 3 Malaysians and an Arab, among the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups personnel that attacked Marawi on 23 May. He added that the Indonesians were mostly bombers while the Malaysians and Arab were fighters on the front line.The terrorist groups, who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), were bidding to gain territory to establish a caliphate.
27 September Ezed Soud Tan, a councillor of Jolo and nephew of a former provincial governor, Sakur Tan, was kidnapped by heavily armed men as he was bicycling with several friends in Indanan. The kidnappers are believed to be members of the Ajang-Ajang faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The kidnappers dragged the victim to a waiting van and fled towards Talipao town.
9 September Clint Beharry was kidnapped from his parents’ house in Blitz Village, Pleasantville, by four armed men, two of whom were dressed in police uniforms, at around 11:00am. The kidnappers came into the house, robbed the family of TT$14,000 (USD2,075) and an undisclosed amount of jewellery before handcuffing the victim and taking him out of the house which also houses the family business, Born Free Recreation Club. The kidnappers drove away with the victim in a Nissan pickup truck. The kidnappers later contacted the family and demanded a ransom of TT$100,000 (USD15,500). The victim is a witness at an ongoing trial to a robbery attempt in which his brother was murdered. At around 8:00pm on the same day, the victim was released near The University of the West Indies’ St. Augustine Campus. Investigators said the ransom was not paid.
14 September Sooklal “Tarzan” Ramroop (71), a businessman who rents apartments, was kidnapped at around 3:30pm when three people visited his apartment in Cipero Road, San Fernando, and lured him out by telling him they were interested in renting one of his apartments in St John Village, San Fernando. As he showed them round, they overpowered him and forced him into a vehicle. Relatives reported his disappearance to the police after going to his home and finding he was not there. At around 6:15pm, relatives received a telephone call demanding TT$700,000 (USD103,700) for his safe return. The victim was rescued after 21 hours in captivity by a police search team at 2:00pm on 15 September when they found him in a mangrove area off Bayshore Avenue, Marabella. His hands were tied and there was a strap on one ankle Five men and two women, all in their 20s, were arrested. On 23 September, the police announced that six suspects, four men and two women, had been released after being held for interrogation for one week. A senior police officer said the case was a sensitive one and information could not be divulged about the release of the suspects and added investigations were continuing.
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