ASIA

Afghanistan

11 January The US Embassy in Kabul issued a warning stating that it had received reports that militants planned to kidnap an American and other Europeans working for an NGO in the country. The statement read: “The US Embassy in Kabul has received reports that as of early January 2016 an unspecified group of militants plan to kidnap an unidentified American and unidentified Europeans who are employees of an unidentified non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.”

12 January Stephane Dion, the Canadian Foreign Minister, said Colin Rutherford, who was 26 years old when he was reported missing in February 2011 while visiting the country as a tourist, had been released with the help of Qatar. He had been kidnapped by the Taliban in the central province of Ghazni and accused of being a spy. In a video released by the militant group in May 2011, Rutherford said he had travelled to the country to see “historical sites, old buildings, shrines”. The Taliban confirmed Qatar’s involvement and added in a statement that the victim was freed “on grounds of humanitarian sympathy and sublime Islamic ethics”. The Taliban have maintained a political office in Doha, Qatar, since 2013. Police chief General Aminullah Amarkhil said the release involved a helicopter landing to collect the victim while fighter jets flew overhead. According to his testimony, Rutherford may have been moved to Pakistan at some point.

India

17 January Shahbaz Shaikh (22) and Rahul Chavan (23) were kidnapped while travelling from their homes in Yeola, Nashik District, to Shirdi, to meet a friend. When they met the girl, they were grabbed from behind, blindfolded and taken to an isolated place near Ahmednagar. The kidnappers used the victims’ cell phone to call Shahbaz’s brother and demand a ransom of Rs.30 lakhs (USD48,150). The brother received a second call at around 1:15am on 18 January after which he informed the police. Using local intelligence and mobile telephone tracking, the police arrested a suspect. The two victims were rescued on 20 January. Eleven suspects, including three women, have been arrested by the Nashik rural police.

Pakistan

5 January Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, the organiser of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Punjab, issued a fact sheet showing crime figures about the worst law and order situation in Punjab stating that over 5,820 people had been murdered in the province in 2015 including 341 in Lahore. He said that there were 95 kidnapping for ransom cases. He added that the Punjab rulers and police had completely failed in maintaining law and order in the province.

16 January Inspector General of Police, Sindh, Ghullam Haider Jamali, while addressing the passing out parade at the Razzakabad Police training centre said that terrorism has come down 80% due to the operation in Karachi. He added that kidnapping for ransom was down 98% and extortion down 53%.

18 January Police reports stated that kidnapping for ransom cases increased during 2015 in Rawalpindi. The regional police chief said 21 cases of kidnapping for ransom were filed with two anti-terrorism courts. Cases of kidnapping for ransom are prosecuted under anti-terrorism law. He added that in most cases, criminal gangs were found to be involved however, in some cases, close relatives, neighbours or servants were responsible.

FAR EAST

Malaysia

9 January The Lahad Datu police chief confirmed that a 44 year old Filipino woman had been kidnapped by three masked men on 7 January from her house in Kampong Silam. She was bundled into a white van and driven towards the forested Jalan Danum area. She was forced to call her family members and tell them to pay a ransom of RM50,000 (USD13,700). The family left the money at a prearranged spot and the kidnappers released their victim after collecting the ransom.

22 January An unnamed Bangladeshi businessman aged 39 years, was kidnapped from a mini market in Ulu Subang Jaya by two men in a car. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family in Bangladesh, demanded RM400,000 (USD109,500) for his release and threatened to kill him. The family had transferred RM30,000 (USD8,200). The police arrested five suspects and later found the victim in the jungle in Ulu Yam along with one of his kidnappers, a 19 year old Myanmar national, on 26 January

Philippines

1 January Army Sergeant Adriano Bingil was released by his kidnappers, members of the New People’s Army (NPA), in Las Nieves town, Agusan del Norte, on New Year’s Eve. Sgt. Bingil was kidnapped late last year while travelling with an official from Barangay Mahagsay, San Luis town, Agusan del Sur. The vehicle they were travelling in was flagged down. The official was allowed to go. The victim was targeted as NPA want the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to cease operations to promote peace and development in the remote areas of Caraga region. A spokesman for the AFP said the release was facilitated by local government officials.

20 January The Philippines Coast Guard Southeastern Mindanao chief, Commodore Joselito F. Dela Cruz, speaking at the AFP-PNP press conference said they had received reports of kidnapping threats by groups in Sulu directed at Samal Island and other areas in Mindanao like Surigao del Norte. He added they would be meeting with the management of the Holiday Oceanview Resort in Samal the following day to discuss increasing security. On 4 September 2015, suspected members of Abu Sayyaf kidnapped three foreigners, Kjartan Sekkingstad (56), a Norwegian, and Canadians John Ridsdell (68) and Robert Hall (50, and Hall’s Filipina partner, Marites Flor, from the resort. A ransom of P4 billion (USD8,938,550) has been demanded for the release of the four victims.

21 January The Department of Tourism (DOT) has impressed on the local tourism industry the need to create crisis management committees that can act as first responders in the event of a terrorist attack. The DOT has been meeting with the owners of smaller hotels and training them in management procedures for dealing with a crisis situation.

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