GENERAL

26 August According to the annual report for 2013 covering the threats against aid workers around the world published by the Aid Security Database, a project of Humanitarian Outcomes, 2013 “set a new record for violence against civilian aid operations with 251 separate attacks affecting 460 aid workers”. Of those, 134 were kidnapped and overall the data shows an increase of 66% in attacks compared with the previous year. The database shows that over the last 18 months there have been at least 37 aid workers kidnapped while working in Syria. The figure could be higher as some families or NGOs may want to keep abductions secret.

AFRICA

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

31 August Chantal Kaghoma Vulinzole, a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff member, escaped from her kidnappers after she managed to flee while her kidnappers, the Ugandan rebel group the allied Democratic Forces (ADF-NLU), were distracted by an attack by the Congolese army. Four MSF members were kidnapped by ADF-NALU fighters on 11 July 2013 during an attack on the village of Kamango, North Kivu, by ADF-NALU. The three other aid workers are still missing.

20 August A group of suspected al Shabaab militants kidnapped a group of traders and their driver near the resort island of Lamu. They took their victims to the Boni forest area in Lamu county where they beheaded the driver, a Christian, and released the three traders who are Muslims.

Libya

6 August A group of at least five journalists were kidnapped as they were driving back after covering the opening of the new Parliament on 4 August in Tobruk. According to available information, the journalists work for Cyrenaica TV that belongs to federalist leader Ibrahim Jadhran. The kidnapping took place about 40 kilometres from Ajdabiya when the vehicle in which the victims were travelling was stopped at a false road block. Although no group has claimed responsibility, the authorities believe the kidnappers are from the Islamist militia, Ansar al Sharia that operates in the area.

8 August According to an article in the newspaper, “The Libya Herald”, two former members of Parliament, Gazi al Arabi and Suleiman Zubi, were released by their kidnappers after being kidnapped on 20 July on the road between Tripoli and the airport. There was no information about the circumstances of the release of the two men.

Mali

30 August The Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that the remaining two diplomats who had been kidnapped in Gao, northern Mali, on 5 April 2012, had been released. The Algerian Consul in Gao, Boualem Sias, was kidnapped along with six other diplomats from their diplomatic headquarters by armed Islamists. The Consul subsequently died from a chronic disease. In July 2012, three of the diplomats were released. MUYAO (The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Mozambique

18 August Amichande Prakaschanda (80), father of Pancaj Prakaschanda the owner of Gindolo hardware store and tourist resorts, was kidnapped while taking his daily walk in Inhambe at around 8:00am. Eye witnesses said that two vehicles with a number of men in them pulled up alongside the victim and threatened him with firearms before forcing him into a vehicle. The kidnappers contacted the family and demanded an unspecified ransom for his release. Using information obtained from eye witnesses, the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) were able to locate the safe house where the victim was being held, rescue him and arrest two of the alleged kidnappers.

21 August According to a statement by the PRM, a person was kidnapped at around 2:00pm from outside the Nautilus Pastelaria restaurant, Shoprite shopping centre, Ceres area, Maputo province. The victim is understood to be related to a local businessman. Eye witnesses to the incident said that four men forcefully removed the victim from the restaurant before escaping in their vehicle. The victim’s chauffeur tried to chase the kidnappers’ vehicle but was forced to stop when the car’s tyres were punctured by bullets.

Nigeria

1 August Tunde Ogunsalin, Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Police Command, has launched a “stop kidnapping campaign”. He said the campaign was necessary as Nigeria has become the second most dangerous place in the World to live in and accounts for 26% of kidnapping globally. He added that when he took up his position in February 2014, there were 20 kidnapping cases per month. The victims came from every age, religion, creed and social status. He said the campaign had succeeded in reducing the number of cases per month to ten but this was still too many.

3 August The MT Hai Soon 6, a 3,200 ton Singaporean bunker tanker owned by Hai Soon International Shipping, was released one week after being boarded by pirates while refuelling an unnamed vessel off the coast of Ghana. All 21 crew members comprising a South Korean Captain and Chief Engineer, 12 Chinese, six Burmese and a Singaporean, were released unharmed. The pirates stole some of its oil. It is not known if a ransom was paid.

4 August Mr. Iniokpoemi Benson, younger brother of Mr. Kombowei Benson, Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, was kidnapped from his residence in Korokorosei village at about 3:00am by gunmen.

5 August Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State revoked the Certificates of Occupancy of four buildings including a church in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area, due to their links to kidnappers. The buildings were demolished. The Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of Operations, Mr. Olafimiham Adeoye, said the demolition was in compliance with the state’s law.

6 August Mrs. Anene Magnus Eze, wife of the coordinator of Okposi Development Centre, was kidnapped by gunmen at around 8:00pm from her residence at Aguyi Layout, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. Her husband was not at home at the time. She was driven away in a neighbour’s car.

7 August A new theory on the missing Nigerian school girls suggested the abducted girls are being used as human bombs after five attacks involving female suicide bombers have been carried out since 8 June with four involving teenage girls. Security analyst Bawa Abdullai Wase said that the teenage bombers are likely to be children of Boko Haram. He added that their minds had been indoctrinated and that Boko Haram women had graduated from being helpers who cook and clean to being bombers.

7 August Madam Florentina Paulker, the 90 year old mother of Senator Emmanuel Paulker, was left by her kidnappers at a fishing camp in Azuzuama community of Southern Ijaw Local Government Council, Bayelsa State. She had been kidnapped from her residence in Opolo on 30 July. The Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police claimed she had been released due to pressure by the security forces. However, close relatives said her release was organised by ex-militant leader, General Pastor Reuben, a close friend of Senator Paulker.

13 August Delta State Police Command registered a major success by dismantling a kidnapping gang in Ukwani Local Government Area. Mrs. Roseline Okolie, wife of a lecturer at the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, was rescued by a police team from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. She had been kidnapped from the family home at Obiaruku, near Abraka, at 3:30am on 12 August when an armed gang broke into the house.

16 August Gunmen kidnapped Mrs. Tokunbo Oruma and her three children, Bryan (6), Gabriel (3) and Wendy (10 months), during the evening from the Ugborikoko area of Warri. The kidnappers drove them away in Mrs. Oruma’s jeep and later contacted her husband to initiate negotiations for the payment of a ransom for the release of the family. The police traced the kidnappers through the telephone number they were using and began closing in on their hideout. Sensing this, the kidnappers released their victims without a ransom being paid and fled.

17 August According to a witness, armed men arrived in a speedboat and kidnapped four construction workers, all Nigerian nationals, from a dredging site along the Nembe waterway in Nembe Local Government area, Bayelsa State. The four workers were working for Setraco Nigeria Ltd., the construction firm handling the Bayelsa-Delta part of the East-West road. Setraco had taken over the contract after another construction firm, Julius Berger, abandoned the project over security concerns.

19 August According to various sources, Boko Haram is expanding in size and tactics and is trying to take over territory in north eastern Nigeria, such as Borno and Adamawa states, from the government. Kidnapping is becoming more common as the militants attack villages kidnapping men, women and children. The aim of the group is to enforce a harsh version of Islamic law. A security source said Boko Haram is using tactics introduced by Joseph Kony in Uganda and Charles Taylor in Sierra Leone to gain loyalty from their victims who are sometimes forced to kill people they know or love.

25 August The ex-militant youth who was being used to deliver the N5 million (USD30,800) ransom for the release of Madam Tolofari, mother of George Tolofari, Rivers State Transport Commissioner, was kidnapped by the kidnappers as he delivered the money. Madam Tolofari had been kidnapped from her home in Victoria Street, Port Harcourt, about three weeks ago by gunmen.

28 August The Bayelsa State police command confirmed that Chief Eseni Adigio (87), uncle of former State Governor, Timipre Sylva, had died in captivity. The victim’s body was recovered from a shallow grave near Kula community on the border of Rivers and Bayelsa States. The victim had been kidnapped on 28 July by unknown gunmen. The family had paid a ransom of N5 million (USD30,800) for his release. One suspect was arrested and later claimed the victim had choked on an evening meal before slumping forward.

Sudan

10 August A group of El Mazarob youths kidnapped nine Chinese workers from the Zarga Um Hadid and Jid El Sayed oil fields in East Darfur. The nine hostages were released after being held for 24 hours as a result of a meeting between local residents, representatives of the oil company and local authorities. At the meeting, the company and the government agreed to work on development and job opportunities for young people in the region.

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