9 January Jihadi armed gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, burst into a Jewish food shop in Paris around lunchtime and took 17 people hostage. He killed four of the hostages before being killed in a hail of bullets by French security forces. Coulibaly was a close associate of brothers Cherif and Said Kouchai who were responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre and had been killed by security forces shortly before Colibaly’s death when they stormed a building in a village outside Paris.
8 January Tom Keatinge, Director, Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, Royal United Services Institute, London, queried British Home Secretary, Teresa May’s, claim to be clarifying insurance and reinsurance payments for kidnap and ransom in the new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. She said the Bill will amend existing law to ensure UK-based insurance firms do not provide cover for the payment of terrorist ransoms. The Director said it is commonly estimated that there are 15,000-20,000 kidnap, extortion and illegal detention events reported by the media each year. He added that in reality there are far more as fear of publicity leads to as many as 70% of such events not being reported. Annual global ransom payments are roughly estimated at USD500 million with most demands in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The vast majority of K&R cases occur in such countries as Mexico, unaffected by terrorism that concerns the Home Secretary. Only 2% of all kidnappings worldwide are committed by terrorist groups and few of these are covered by insurance. He concluded that the large payments apparently made to terrorist groups for the release of foreign workers and tourists are almost certainly not reimbursed by insurance.