GENERAL

United Nations

12 February The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at tightening its crackdown on financing terrorist groups through illicit oil sales, trading in antiquities and paying ransoms for kidnaps. In a sign of unity on fighting the Islamic State and other al Qaeda linked groups, the Russian sponsored resolution was co-sponsored by many council members including the United States. A UN panel of experts in November 2014 estimated the Islamic State potential revenue from crude oil at between USD846,000 and USD1.65 million per day. It said the group received between USD35 million and USD45 million in ransom payments over the previous year and that kidnapping for ransom continues to grow. The resolution reaffirmed that it is illegal to pay ransoms to individuals and groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al Nusra.

AFRICA

Algeria

22 February Ahmad Mizab, Chairman of the NGO Algeria-Africa Committee for Peace and Reconciliation, who is also a security expert, said that militant groups in the African Sahel have accumulated USD220 million in ransom payments to free westerners since 2013. He added that the terrorist groups use the money to expand their activities by purchasing arms and recruiting new members to create new terrorist areas of operation in the region. The African Sahel region has been the scene of several kidnapping incidents over the past years. Some of the incidents targeted Western nationals, most of whom were tourists or workers from multinational companies operating in the region.

Cameroon

9 February Two military sources told Reuters that Boko Haram militants had attacked a border village in the north of the country and are suspected of kidnapping at least 18 people travelling on a bus. The military sources added that the militants had lost 11 fighters killed during a clash with the army. At least eight soldiers were wounded.

Central African Republic (CAR)

11 February Tatiana Yangeko, spokesman for Armel Ningataloum Sayo, Minister for Youth and Sport, said that the Minister had been released after being kidnapped by members of the “anti-balaka” militia on 25 January while returning from church with his wife. The “anti balaka” had denied they were responsible. Details of the Minister’s release were not released.

Egypt

14 February News24 Sinai, a Facebook page dedicated to covering news of the Sinai peninsula, reported that a military officer had possibly been kidnapped by militants in North Sinai three days earlier. No military or security agencies have commented on the report.

Libya

1 February Samir Salem Kamal, Libya’s representative to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was released by his kidnappers after being held for two weeks. He was kidnapped in Tripoli as he left work on 15 January. The circumstances of his kidnapping and the motives of the kidnappers have not been made clear.

4 February Officials reported that gunmen, possibly linked to Islamist militants, had seized control of a Libyan oilfield, killing and kidnapping several workers. The incident occurred at a remote oilfield at al Mabrook, south of Sirte, on the night of 3-4 February. The Philippines Foreign Ministry said three Filipinos were among the four foreign nationals who were kidnapped. The French company, Total, has a stake in the oilfield but it is contracted to a Libyan company. The Filipinos worked for an Italian company.

9 February In a 54 page report “War on the media: journalists under attack in Libya”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) states that armed groups have killed, attacked, kidnapped, intimidated and threatened Libyan journalists with impunity over the past two years. The organisation has documented at least 91 incidents between mid 2012 and November 2014 including eight killings and 30 kidnappings or short-term arbitrary detentions. Two Tunisian journalists, Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari, were reported missing in eastern Libya in September 2014 and their fate remains unknown.

12 February Islamic State (IS) issued the seventh edition of “Dabiq”, its English language magazine showing photographs of 21 Egyptian Copts allegedly kidnapped in Sirte in January. The photographs show the hostages wearing orange suits and handcuffed to masked IS militants. According to “Dabiq”, the Copts were kidnapped “in revenge for” an Egyptian woman who was allegedly tortured in an Egyptian church for converting to Islam. On 14 February the Libyan parliament confirmed the deaths of the 21 hostages. IS released a video showing the murder of the hostages. They were dressed in orange jump suits and forced down onto the sand on a beach before being beheaded. One of the IS militants stood with a knife in his hand and said: “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for”. A report said that one of the executioners spoke in English with a North American accent saying: “We will conquer Rome, by Allaah’s permission” as he pointed north across the Mediterranean. On 16 February, Egyptian warplanes bombed IS camps, training sites and weapons storage areas near the militant-held city of Derna.

16 February Up to 35 Egyptians, many of them farm workers, were reportedly kidnapped from areas controlled by the Islamic State. The workers were apparently rounded up at various places throughout the day. It is feared this act was in retaliation for the Egyptian airstrikes on Derna.

19 February According to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, ten Egyptian nationals were kidnapped in Tripoli following the air raids on ISIL targets in Libya by the Egyptian Air Force.

Madagascar

17 February Houssein Anvaraly (12), a French boy, was kidnapped from outside his school in Toliara, southwest Madagascar, when four men grabbed him as he was leaving the school. A police official said that the motive for the kidnapping was not clear and the kidnappers may have meant to take another boy. There have been a number of high-profile kidnapping cases, apparently for ransom, in Madagascar over the last few months. On 21 February, the French Ambassador said the victim had been released after being held for three days but would not give details about the motive or the circumstances of the release.

Mozambique

2 February Five armed and hooded men kidnapped the elderly owner, known as Jose, of “Kalinka” clothing store on Mao Tse Tung Boulevard around 5:00pm. Witnesses said that five minutes prior to the kidnapping, the gunmen had disarmed a police agent and a security guard and taken their weapons. The victim was driven away in a waiting vehicle. The Consulate General of Portugal confirmed the victim was of Portuguese nationality but refused to provide further details. On 10 February, a source at the Consulate General said that the victim had been released on 6 February but did not give any further details.

4 February A woman, identified only as “Nazira”, was kidnapped on Avenida Julius Nyerri adjacent to the Trauma Centre, a private hospital. According to unconfirmed reports, the victim was kidnapped following a road accident engineered by her kidnappers. She was rescued on 5 February during an operation by the Republic of Mozambique Police (PRM). The Consulate General of Portugal confirmed that the victim was a Portuguese national but would not provide further details at the request of the victim’s family. The Consulate General confirmed her release but would not provide further details.”Nazira” is, apparently, the daughter of the owner of a petrol station and she owns the store Molde’Arte and b.Organic in Maputo. The police arrested four people including Arthur Wilson aka “Bai Gafur” and “money-man”. His Facebook page shows a number of photos of him holding large sums of money. The police believe this is money from previous kidnappings although Wilson denies it.

10 February Police in Beira arrested four men who were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of a 13 year old boy in Manga, Beira, on 7 January 2015. His father did not report the incident to the police at the time. The victim had been trapped into meeting one of the suspects who pretended to be a female and formed an online relationship. The victim was held for 2 days. His father allegedly paid a ransom of MT2.5 million (USD80,650) that had been negotiated down from the initial demand of MT8 million (USD258,000).

23 February The Court of Maputo City legalised the arrests of four men accused of orchestrating kidnappings in the city. The four are considered to be ringleaders of the kidnapping group. Ten other suspects were also arrested at the same time but their detention has yet to be legalised by the Court.

Nigeria

3 February Gunmen in a speedboat stopped a boat carrying oil workers and kidnapped four employees of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NOAC), a subsidiary of the Italian oil company ENI. The boat carrying the oil workers did not have an armed escort. The incident happened in the Southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa State.

4 February A group of pirates attacked the “Kalamos”, a Maltese flagged cargo ship, with a crew of 23 sailors. The attack took place off Qua Iboe, on the southeast coast of Nigeria. Three crew members, two Greeks and a Pakistani, were kidnapped. The Greek first officer was killed during the attack. There were a total of ten Greek sailors on board. The vessel was travelling from China without a cargo. On 25 February, Greece’s Foreign Ministry announced that the three kidnapped crew members had been released. The Ministry could not confirm reports that a ransom of USD400,000 was paid. The vessel’s manager, the Athens based Aeolos Management SA, was not available for comment.

7 February A man in his 80s, the father of Senator Joshua Dariye who represents Plateau Central in the National Assembly and is a former governor of Plateau State, was kidnapped from his residence in Mushere, Plateau State. Gunmen arrived at the victim’s house at night, fired shots in the air to deter residents coming to his aid and took him away. On 9 February, the Commander of the Special Task Force (STF) revealed that the kidnappers had sent a letter to the family with a ransom demand of N10 million (USD61,500) and also gave telephone numbers for the family to contact them.

14 February Alhaji Abdullazeez Ohere, director of Local Government (DLG), Adavi Local Government Council, was kidnapped. At around 11:00pm, a group of about ten men jumped over the fortified fence of the DLG house at Agassa and broke down the main door leading into the house using a heavy object. According to a source, the kidnappers said they had been sent to assassinate him but would not kill him if he co-operated. He agreed to save himself and his family.

23 February Unknown gunmen disrupted a campaign rally of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Khana, Rivers State, and kidnapped Freddy Ndigbara, an aide to Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. The kidnappers arrived in a Toyota and forced their victim into a car before driving away. On 25 February, a source close to the victim’s family told a reporter in confidence that a demand of N100 million (USD615,400) had been received by the family and the kidnappers had said the ransom was to be paid immediately if the victim was not to be harmed.

23 February Rev. Phyllis Sortor, a Christian missionary working for the Free Methodist Church, was kidnapped from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, Kogi State, when five masked gunmen scaled the fence surrounding the compound at around 10:00am. The victim has worked in Nigeria for 10 years.

28 February Doctors in Rivers State took to the streets of Port Harcourt to mourn one of their colleagues who had been kidnapped and killed. According to them, six doctors have been kidnapped during the last month with one killed. They are worried over what they described as incessant kidnapping in the State targeted at the medical profession.

Somalia

27 February Local officials said that four Thai fisherman held hostage by Somali pirates for almost four years had been released. The four fishermen were among 24 crew members seized in April 2010 when pirates hijacked the Taiwan flagged fishing vessel FV Prantalay 12. Local residents claimed that a USD150,000 ransom was paid but this could not be verified independently. After its capture, the FV Pantalay was used as a pirate mother ship to launch attacks far out to sea before it capsized in July 2011 and the crew were taken ashore. Of the 24 original crew members, six died from sickness at various stages, and another 14 from Myanmar were released. A further 26 hostages, crew members of FV Naham 3 that was hijacked in 2012, are still being held by the pirates.

Sudan

2 February A press attaché at the Russian Embassy in Khartoum confirmed that two Russian pilots working for UTAir, a company contracted by the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), had been kidnapped on 29 January. The kidnappers told UNAMID that they are waiting for a ransom payment for the release of the two pilots a source said. The kidnapping happened in the town of Zalingei, Central Darfur state, when an UNAMID minibus was blocked by six cars. The passengers were forced at gunpoint to get off the minibus and taken away.

3 February Dr. Chol Aruai, the Chairperson of National Bureau of Statistics, Mr. Mading Akueth, a worker of Lutheran World Federation, and Mr. Jacob Alier, worker of the United Nations World Food Programme, were kidnapped by Riek Machar rebels at Jiech Payam, Ayod County. A UNWFP helicopter carrying the three men had left Kongor to drop food in Uror and other rebel controlled areas before proceeding to Juba. The helicopter was briefly detained by the rebels who searched it and kidnapped the three men. It is believed that Mr. Akueth and Mr. Alier were kidnapped as they are Dinka.

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