AFRICA

Burkina Faso

4 April Five unidentified gunmen kidnapped a Romanian security guard from the manganese mining Tambao project in the north of the country near the Mali border. The project is run by Pan African Minerals, a subsidiary of Frank Timis’s Timis Corporation. Timis is a Romanian-Australian businessman with investments in West African oil and mining operations. The Burkina Faso managing director for Pan African Minerals said that there had been an attack on one of their security patrols that was being led by the Romanian security officer. A local security source said the kidnappers had headed towards the nearby border with northern Mali. Pan African Minerals are said to have had strained relations with the local community.

Democratic Republic of Congo

23 April Colonel Felix Basse, spokesman for MONUSCO, reported that three employees of a company working under contract for a demining unit of MONUSCO had been kidnapped. He added they were not “blue helmets” (UN peacekeepers) but gave no further information about the victims’ nationalities or the circumstances of the kidnapping.

Kenya

23 April Al Shabaab militants killed Mkutar Otieno, a Kenyan chief from Arabia, Mandera County. According to the police, his body was found bound to a tree in Badhere area with four bullet wounds. The victim was travelling by vehicle with his assistant towards Mandera Town when gunmen stopped the vehicle. They put the victim in another vehicle and drove towards Badhere, about 50kms from the Kenya-Somali border. They demanded a ransom of Sh4 million (USD43,500). Negotiations that were being led by local elders broke down and the militants killed the chief.

26 April Mandera county commissioner, Alex Nkoyo, confirmed that two Kenyan teachers had been kidnapped by armed members of the Somali militant group, al Shabaab. He did not give the names of the two victims saying only that they were not locals, nor any details of the kidnapping except to say it had taken place at 4:00am.

Libya

19 April The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released a video purporting to show the executions of about 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya. In the video released online, one group of about 12 men are shown being beheaded on a beach and another group of at least 16 is shown being shot in the head in a desert area. Text on the screen identifies the men as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church”.

27 April A government spokesman said that the bodies of five journalists from a Libyan television crew had been found near the city of Al Bayda, close to where they were kidnapped in August 2014. The victims were kidnapped while travelling through an area largely controlled by extremist militants. Faraj al-Barassi, a district army commander in eastern Libya, told Reuters that militants loyal to Islamic State (IS) were responsible for the murders.

Mali

6 April During an operation conducted by French special forces in the far north of the country, Sjaak Rijke (55), a Dutch train driver, was rescued from his kidnappers. He had been kidnapped by militants from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) on 25 November 2011 from a hotel in Timbuktu while on holiday in the country. Another two Europeans, Stephen Malcolm who holds British and South African passports, and Swede Johan Gustafson, who are still believed to be in the hands of AQIOM, were kidnapped from the hotel in the same incident. Rijke’s wife who was in the hotel managed to escape. A German national was killed during the kidnapping. Rijke appeared in videos in August 2012 along with the other two victims, and alone in September 2013 and November 2014.

Mozambique

16 April The unnamed Sierra Leone born owner (72) of a clothing warehouse was kidnapped by armed men on Avenida de Angola, Airport Subdivision, near Maputo, at around 3:30pm. The victim was beaten and forced into a car while some of the kidnappers shot at unarmed guards from a neighbouring car sales store. On 20 April the police said the victim was still in captivity.

Nigeria

2 April Sources reported that gunmen had kidnapped five local employees of Mobil Producing, Nigeria, (MPN), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, on 30 March at a Floating Storage and Offloading Vessel (FSO) in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The five victims were working offshore when kidnapped by suspected roving militants. The source said that, following the incident, the management of ExxonMobil decided to shut down operations. In a later statement, the Manager, Media and Communications of ExxonMobil, Oge Udeagha, confirmed that unknown gunmen had kidnapped three contract workers of an unnamed oil firm working for the American oil company and the incident took place on 21 March. Local sources insisted the incident took place on 30 March.

6 April The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, who is based in Geneva, said the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants from Chibok in April 2014 may have been among the group of women killed by Boko Haram in Borno State last month. He said: “The recent recovery of territories in northeastern Nigeria has brought to light macabre scenes of mass graves and more obvious signs of killings by Boko Haram. These reports include the murder of the wives of combatants, women and girls actually held in slavery”.

13 April Mah Fath Nagor, a Syrian national and engineer with RIM Construction Company, was kidnapped by unknown gunmen from the site where he was working in Awe Local Government Area, Nassarawa State. The kidnappers forced the victim into a car and sped away. They later demanded N50 million (USD250,250) for his release.

14 April Bourbon, a French company, announced that one of its supply vessels had been attacked by pirates off the coast of Nigeria on 8 April and three Nigerian employees of Bourbon Interoil Nigeria were kidnapped. Bourbon operates small vessels called “Surfers” that transport workers to gas and petrol offshore oil platforms. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 33 incidents of piracy and armed robbery were recorded in the area between January and September 2014.

15 April Police sources stated that three siblings, Demola (6), Abedamola (4) years and Adaramola (11 months) from the Orekoya family, had been found abandoned in Shasha area of Lagos State. The three had been kidnapped by a newly employed nanny and her accomplices on 8 April from Lawanson, Surulere, Lagos State. The kidnappers had demanded N18 million (USD90,500) for the release of the three victims. They later reduced the demand to N13 million (USD65,300). The police monitored telephone calls between the kidnappers and the family and mounted an operation. Faced by the intense pressure the incident had generated, the kidnappers abandoned the three youngsters. The housemaid was arrested. She was said to have been hired through an online trading portal, OLX, after the parents had posted a notice saying they needed the services of a nanny. The police urged the public to contact them before employing persons who would have access to their homes for background checks. The nanny, Funmilayo Adeyemi, later claimed that the children’s parents had paid a ransom of N2 million (USD10,000) before the kidnappers abandoned their victims. She confessed to belonging to a gang of kidnappers that included her husband and two of his relatives.

18 April The Rivers State Police Command confirmed that Cassidy Ikegbudu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of Ahoada East Local Government Area, had been kidnapped in the early hours of the morning. He was kidnapped by armed men from his village, Yiboko, after an exchange of fire with security guards. The kidnappers dragged him to a speed boat and made their escape.

19 April Chief Willie Obiano, Anambra State Governor, has re-enforced security measures across the state and approved the demolition of two more kidnap dens. The two buildings were demolished on 16 April in Umuikwelle Village and Umugborn Village. Speaking about the latest developments, Chief Obiano said that there had been no reported kidnapping incidents in Anambra State during the past year. The two demolished buildings were used in August 2013 and October 2014 to hide kidnapping victims.

23 April Niyi Omosola, a suspected leader of a kidnapping gang, was killed by police in the Epe area of Lagos as he went to collect a ransom payment. The gang had kidnapped businesswoman, Kudirat Adeboye (62), in Elemoro, Ajah, Lagos State, at about 7:00pm on 16 April. The wealthy businesswoman was said to have been inspecting the work at a new petrol station she was constructing when the gang kidnapped her. The kidnappers initially demanded a ransom of N50 million (USD250,250) but later agreed to N3 million (USD15,000). The victim’s brother took the ransom money to a predetermined location in the Epe area. A police team followed and returned fire when Omosola spotted them and opened fire. The victim was rescued from a hideout in the jungle between Epe and Ijebu Ode.

27 April Newspaper reports stated that Taiwo Oluwatoyin Akinbode, twin sister of gospel singer, Kenny K’ore, had been kidnapped on 16 April when she went for a job interview in Port Harcourt. Unknown to her, she was walking into a trap set by the kidnappers. Family sources said that a ransom demand of N5million (USD25,125) had been received. It is understood that the victim was heard wailing in pain from torture when the kidnappers telephoned Kenny K’ore.

28 April The army announced on Twitter that troops had rescued 200 girls and 93 women who had previously been kidnapped by Boko Haram, during an offensive in the northeastern Sambisa Forest area. They added that the girls and women who were kidnapped from Chibok in 2014 were not among those rescued.

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