AFRICA

Burkina Faso

30 August The Romanian Foreign Ministry was working to verify the authenticity of a video of a Romanian security worker pleading for help after being kidnapped by militants from the al Qaeda linked al Mourabitoun Islamic group. The man who was speaking in French identifies himself as Iulian Gherghut and says the recording was made on 18 August. He adds that he was kidnapped at Tambao, a mining site, and urges the Romanian and Burkina Faso governments, his family and the head of the Pan African security company to negotiate his release. The victim was kidnapped on 4 April 2015. The Romanian Foreign Ministry confirmed the images were of the victim.

Cameroon

4 August A local leader reported that suspected Boko Haram militants had killed 9 people, six men and three women, and kidnapped dozens including children and teenagers, from the Cameroon villages of Tchakarmari and Kangaleri on the border with Borno State, Nigeria. While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Islamic militants from Boko Haram have been blamed for scores of attacks in the region this year.

11 August Four students of Premier A4 class of College Bilingue Prive Intellexi, Dschang, were arrested by police in connection with the kidnapping of Adiel Miguel Raphael (2). According to the Commissioner of the Dschang Central Police Station, the victim was walking back from church with his two 7 year old brothers at around 11:00am when one of the suspects, a female, gave the elder boys money to go to the nearby shops to buy biscuits and bread for themselves. When they returned, the suspect had disappeared with the victim leaving his coat, a telephone number and a short message with a demand for FCFA5 million (USD8,500). The following day, the police arrested the suspect after she had collected the ransom of FCFA260,000 (USD445).

Democratic Republic of Congo

7 August Al-Hadji Hashim Musa, head of North Kivu Islamic community, said militants suspected to be from the mainly Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) had kidnapped six Tanzanian Muslim imams and their Congolese driver on 2 August between the villages of Katwiguru and Tutshuru, North Kivu. The kidnappers contacted the Islamic community in Goma, eastern Congo, and demanded USD40,000, that was later reduced to USD20,000, for the release of the six hostages.

Egypt

5 August In a video posted online by Sinai Province, an Islamic State affiliate in Egypt, they threatened to kill Tomislav Salopek, a Croatian married father of two children who worked as a surveyor for CGG Ardiseis, a French company, in 48 hours if “Muslim women” jailed in Egypt were not freed. The “Muslim women” referred to those detained during the Egyptian government’s crackdown on supporters of the Moslem Brotherhood and other Islamists. In the video, the victim is shown kneeling at the feet of a hooded man who is holding a knife. The victim, wearing an orange jumpsuit, is seen reading from a sheet of paper and states he will be killed within 48 hours if Egypt’s government fails to release the women. The victim was kidnapped on 22 July as he travelled to work in Cairo. The Islamic State affiliate was originally known as Ansar Beit al Maqdis but changed its name when it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in November 2014. The deadline passed on 7 August without any notification that the victim had been executed.

On 12 August, a photograph showing what appeared to be the victim’s body was circulating on the social media accounts of Islamic State loyalists. The image could not be immediately verified. Several Islamic State accounts showed images of knives alongside the message: “Croatia participated in the war with Islamic State”. Croatia played a minor role, sending weapons to Kurdish forces.

On 13 August, the Croatian Foreign Minister, Vesna Pusic, said that the victim had been kidnapped by an unidentified group that demanded a ransom from his employer before handing him over to the Islamic State. CGG Ardiseis said that it had received a ransom demand eight days after the victim was kidnapped on 22 July but it did not include a telephone number and multiple e-mails sent to the address from which the demand e-mail was received, went unanswered. Christophe Barnini, the chief spokesman for the company said: “at no moment did we enter negotiations with the kidnappers about a ransom”.

Libya

2 August A report by ANI stated that two of the four Indian teachers who had been kidnapped by militants from the Islamic State on 29 July were released on 31 July and would fly back from Tunis to India on 3 August. Four Indian teachers, two from Hyderabad, one from Raichur and the fourth from Bengaluru, were kidnapped at a road block in an area controlled by the Islamic State about 50kms from Sirte while travelling from Tripoli to Tunis to fly back to India. The two released teachers were named as Laxmikant Rama-krishna and Vijay Kumar and the two who remain as hostages were named as Bairam Kishan and T Goprikrishna. The Indian government is working with Libyan officials to secure the release of the two remaining hostages. Vijay Kumar later explained that the four Indians were kidnapped after the masked gunmen asked their religion and established they were non-Muslims. They were taken to house somewhere in Sirte and kept in a room with 18-20 other hostages. Once their captors realised they were teachers, they were well treated. He added the militants were aged between 18-20 years and many had been students at Sirte University where the Indians taught. He told his captors that he had read the Quran and would read it in future.

Mali

7 August Military sources reported that gunmen, believed to be members affiliated to the Islamist Macina Liberation Movement, stormed the Bybios Hotel in the desert town of Sevare, Mopti Region, about 370 miles north of the country’s capital, Bamako, in an attempt to kidnap Western nationals staying at the hotel. During a shoot out with Malian troops, who surrounded the hotel, at least four people, including two soldiers, were killed. At least five foreign nationals – three South Africans, a Frenchman and an Ukrainian – are known to have been staying at the hotel. An Ukrainian hostage who managed to escape said that there were four or five terrorists and he had been with three South Africans and a Russian when the attack started at around 7:00am. Hotel guests included members of the MINUSMA (UN Mission). A later report stated that at least eight people had been killed including five Malian soldiers and two insurgents. On 8 August, Mali’s defence ministry adviser, Lieutenant Colonel Diarran Kone, said that twelve people, five Malian soldiers, three members of the hotel staff, one UN contractor and three of the attacking militants, had been killed during the siege. Four UN employees held hostage by the militants were rescued and seven suspected militants captured. On 9 August, the South African Embassy in Mali confirmed that Relof Jense van Rensburg (38), a South African national who was attached to an aviation company providing services to the UN, was killed in the hotel siege and two other South Africans survived the attack. During the 20 hour siege, Relof was sending love messages through WhatsApp to his wife, Carina. She said the messages suddenly stopped at about 8:00pm.

Mozambique

12 August The Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) rescued a 2 year old girl who had been kidnapped four days earlier in Chimoio, Manica Province, and arrested five people including a woman. The victim was kidnapped on 5 August and her mother immediately reported the kidnapping of her daughter to the police. The kidnappers contacted the family and demanded 600,000 meticais (USD15,800) for the girl’s release. A policeman posed as a member of the family in the negotiations with the kidnappers. Two members of the kidnapping gang were arrested during the negotiations and another two during the rescue operation.

Nigeria

2 August A statement on behalf of the Department of State Services (DSS) said that the DSS had arrested 28 suspected kidnappers within six days from 19 July. Among those arrested were senior members of the “Federa” kidnapping gang that operated within the Ikorodu/Otta axis of Lagos State, and a member of the Ekiti kidnap syndicate.

3 August The Nigerian military said that it had besieged Boko Haram positions in the Islamic group’s northeastern heartland and had set free 178 hostages (101 children, 67 women and 10 men).

3 August A security source stated that a Lebanese national, a construction engineer identified only as Rody, was kidnapped by gunmen who stopped his vehicle at an illegal roadblock near Ekila, Niger State. The victim was travelling to a construction site where his company, Enerco Nigeria Limited, was working on a project. The victim’s driver and two employees of the Niger State Ministry of Works and infrastructural development, who were travelling with him, were also kidnapped.

3 August The Delta State Police Command confirmed that Madam Helen Ojeogwu, a 90 year old grandmother, was kidnapped by six gunmen from her home in Azungwu quarters, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, on 27 July around 9:45pm. The kidnappers drove into the family compound in a ten seater Mitsubishi bus and forced the grandmother into the vehicle.

7 August Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, signed the new anti-kidnapping law passed by the State House into law. The Governor said with the law becoming operational, criminals convicted for kidnapping and accessory to kidnap will forfeit their assets, funds and proceeds from kidnap.

8 August A spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command said that police officers had foiled an attempt to kidnap an Indian national who is a member of De-Star Metal Company, Odonia in Ikorodu, after receiving a tip off that there was to be an attempt to kidnap the Indian national. One suspect was arrested but others are still at large. The spokesperson added that a man, simply identified as Timothy (35), an old employee of the company, and three accomplices had planned to kidnap the Indian national in order to demand a ransom from the company. Timothy was arrested on 6 August at the company premises and gave useful information to the police.

8 August During an address to Government House Correspondents after the 32nd State Security Council Meeting in Yenagoa, Mr. Paul Okafor, Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, said that the State Government were going to enforce the registration of boats with engines with a speed capacity of 200 horsepower and above as part of an effort towards tackling sea piracy and other criminal activities in Bayelsa State. He added that intelligence had shown that kidnappers had been operating in the State using boats with a high speed capability. Bayelsa State is mainly a coastal state with mangroves, swamps, creeks, rivers and rivulets and has a record of a high number of piracy and kidnapping incidents.

14 August Dr. Joseph Orsar, a lecturer at the University of Agriculture (UAM), Makurdi, was kidnapped from his house at the Federal Housing Estate, North Bank, Makurdi, at around 5:00pm. The kidnappers contacted his family and demanded N30 million (USD150,750) for his release. On 19 August, the victim managed to escape from his kidnappers and ran to Gbagyo village and asked for help. The Kindred Head of Nnanev contacted the University who sent security men to collect the victim.

22 August Mrs. Omogbene Adeborile (78), wife of Igbotako Ward II chairman and mother of to the wife of Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, an oil magnate, was kidnapped when gunmen forced their way into her residence in Igbotako, Okitipupa Local Council, Ondo State, during the night.

22 August Mrs. Hajiya Umma Rijau (75), mother of the former Rijau government chairman, Audu Berri Rijau, was kidnapped at about 10:45pm by three gunmen who stormed her house in Rijau, Niger State. She was reportedly taken away by the kidnappers towards Kebbi State. A family member speaking in confidence said that the kidnappers had contacted the family demanding a ransom of N100 million (USD500,250) and threatening to shoot their hostage if the money was not paid.

26 August An unnamed man aged 75 years was kidnapped in Out-Jeremi community, Ughelli South, Delta State, when he was forced into a car by his kidnappers. The police launched a manhunt to rescue the victim.

30 August Ms. Donu Kogbara, a highly regarded writer and broadcaster who has a weekly column in Vanguard Newspapers and is Chief Executive Officer of African Access Limited, a public relations outfit, was kidnapped in the morning from in front of her house in the Nkpogu area of Port Harcourt, by gunmen in police uniforms driving a private jeep.

Somalia

28 August John Steed, regional manager of the Organisation Oceans Beyond Piracy, said that the Iranian fishing boat, Jaber, with 19 crew members, had escaped from Somali pirates. The vessel was captured along with another Iranian fishing vessel, Siraj, on 26 March this year. It would appear that the captain took advantage when the guards were distracted by a passing helicopter and sailed away from captivity. The Jaber approached a ship from the European Naval Force. Somali pirates still hold the crew of the Siraj and 26 other sailors.

31 August For years it has been accepted that in the long term, Somali piracy can only be conclusively dealt with onshore and this feeling was confirmed by Puntland’s Counter Piracy Minister Abdalla Jama Saleh when he said “the pirates are not dead, but dormant, now, so they will come definitely, straight away, no question about it (as soon as the warships leave)”. In northern Somalia, government officials warned of a revival of piracy unless foreign nations – and the naval armada patrolling the coast – do more to create jobs and security ashore and to combat illegal fishing. An unemployed teacher, Daouad Ali Mohamed (28) said as he gestured around a group of men gathered at a tea shop: “If I don’t get a job soon, then yeah sure, maybe I can go back to piracy. Anything can happen. All these people can be pirates”.

Tanzania

12 August Spanish citizen, Toni Perez-Portabella, a professor of communications at URV, and his pregnant wife, Gemma Zapater, a professor at el Collegi Pau Celclos de Tarragona, reported that they had been kidnapped as they travelled to the airport in Dar es-Salem, after spending twenty days on holiday in the country. The taxi driver took a diversion as he drove them to the airport and started speaking on his cell phone. The taxi went down an unlit street where it was stopped by three men in another car. The kidnappers demanded money and promised the two victims would not come to any harm providing they paid. The couple were released after paying 1,300 euros (USD1,500).

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