GENERAL

European Union

23 June The European Union Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg strongly condemned the use of kidnapping for ransom by terrorist groups and rejected the payment of ransoms and political concessions to terrorists. It added that ransom payments and political concessions only incentivise future incidents of kidnapping and increase the risk to our citizens and interests.

AFRICA

Cameroon

1 June Two Italian priests, Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri, and a Canadian nun, Gilberte Bissiere, were released after being kidnapped on 4 April from Maroua close to the border with Nigeria. There was no claim of responsibility from any group but Cameroonian officials have pointed the finger at the Nigerian Islamist group, Boko Haram. The circumstances surrounding the release of the hostages have not been officially released although Agence France-Presse cited an anonymous military source saying the three hostages were released after a fee was paid.

Kenya

17 June During a night raid on two coastal villages near the Somali border in Poromoko district, al Shabaab, the Somali based Islamist group, kidnapped 12 women. Al Shabaab said the raid was in retaliation for the murders of militants and Kenyan troops being stationed in Somalia. Visitors from the US and UK have been advised to avoid the Kenyan coast. The UK has also closed its consulate in Mombasa and British tourists were moved out of the area in May.

Libya

30 June A Tunisian diplomat, Aroussi Kontassi, and an embassy employee, Mohamed bin Sheikh, were released by their kidnappers. Kontassi was kidnapped in Tripoli on 17 April, one month after bin Sheikh had been kidnapped. Their abductions happened during a period of attacks on diplomats in Libya. Kontassi told journalists: “the conditions of our detention were very bad”. The circumstances surrounding the release of the two men have not been revealed.

30 June Mohammed Hraizi, a leading member of the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), a Libyan Islamist party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, was kidnapped by gunmen during the evening while returning from evening prayers along the airport road in Tripoli. Eyewitnesses said that the kidnappers were driving military vehicles.

Mali

4 June Dubai based Akhbar Al Aan TV station aired a video of French hostage Serge Lazarevic appealing to President Francois Hollande to negotiate his release after 2 years in captivity. The victim wore a black turban and had a long grey beard. He said he had been kidnapped by al Qaeda’s North African wing al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). He added that he was suffering from several health problems and from the difficult environmental conditions.

Mozambique

10 June The unnamed Portuguese teenager who was kidnapped in Maputo on 27 May, was released in good health. The circumstances of his release have not been disclosed. According to a Portuguese diplomat public information is scarce as the victim’s parents have requested confidentiality. The diplomat added that this was the eighth kidnapping for ransom incident of a Portuguese national in the country during the past two years.

Nigeria

5 June The kidnappers of Ogboro Orumo (86), mother-in-law of the Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Konbowei Friday Benson, have contacted the family with a ransom demand of N40 million (USD246,000) for her release. She was kidnapped from her compound in Korokorosei, Southern Ijaw Government Area, on 30 May when gunmen arrived in a speedboat.

6 June Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State said he would personally supervise the destruction of houses where kidnap victims have been kept. He insisted the decision to demolish houses was backed by the law passed by the Edo State House Assembly which also prescribed the death penalty for kidnappers.

7 June Sources said that suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped at least 20 young mothers from Garkin Fulani, 5 miles from Chibok, Borno State, where 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped nearly two months previously. It was later reported that the kidnappers were demanding a ransom of 20 cows from the husband of each woman.

8 June Azeez and Oyiza, the children of the Kogi State Assembly Speaker, Alhaji Momoh Jimoh Lawal, were released by their kidnappers. The two children had been kidnapped 45 days earlier by unknown gunmen from the family house in Okengwe, Okene Local Government Area, Kogi State. The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of N200 million (USD1.23 million) but this was reduced during negotiations. It was unclear if a ransom had been paid.

10 June Gunmen stormed the home of an engineer, Samson Opaluwa, in Karmo, Abuja, and were dissatisfied with the money they found in the house so kidnapped Ejura Opaluwa (23) and her younger sister, Unekwu (19). A family member said that the kidnappers initially demanded a ransom of USD200 million (USD1.23 million) but later reduced it to N150 million (USD923,000).

16 June K Swaminathan (53), an Indian national and commercial manager working in Calabar, was kidnapped as he left his office after work in the evening. His son, Amit, who lives in India, received a call the following day telling him his father had been kidnapped and demanding a ransom from the victim’s company of N10 million (USD61,000). The kidnappers warned Amit against informing the authorities and called him on a number of occasions over the following days. The victim, who had only been in the country for eight days at the time of his kidnapping, was rescued by the security forces after being held for five days.

17 June The Anambra State Commissioner of Police announced that two kidnap dens had been demolished by the police. One in Ogidi, a rented bungalow, had been used by a kidnap gang that obtained N100 million (USD620,000) for 12 kidnapping victims. The second one at Ire Ojoto, a three bedroom bungalow, had been used to house 30 victims.

24 June Reports from Borno State say that Boko Haram militants abducted 91 people, 60 girls and women and 31 boys, including children as young as 3 years, during raids on villages over the weekend.

25 June Mr. Olurotimi Aleshiloye, Head of Strategy of AIICO Insurance Plc., told journalists that insurance firms operating in the country have paid about N1.22 billion (USD74.4 million) in kidnap and ransom claims on 730 reported cases in the last four years. He added that there have been about 164 recorded kidnap incidents since the beginning of the year.

29 June The police in Lagos State rescued two kidnapping victims identified only as a female banker called Ladi and a male called Patrick. They had been kidnapped in separate incidents the previous weekend while driving into their houses at Elemoro, Ajah, Lagos State. Police sources said the kidnappers had demanded N100 million (USD615,000) for the release of the two victims. This was later reduced to N6 million (USD37,000). A police team tracked the kidnappers and discovered the two victims in a forest at Elemoro. A suspected member of the kidnapping gang was captured who admitted that the gang were based in Delta State but relocated to Lagos three weeks previously.

Somalia

7 June The eleven surviving crew members from the Malaysian flagged container ship, MV Albedo, escaped from their Somali pirate kidnappers with the help of some of the kidnappers. The MV Albedo was hijacked by pirates in November 2010 with a crew of 23 from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Iran and Pakistan. The pirates demanded a ransom of USD8 million but, rather than pay, the Iranian owners disappeared. A Pakistani crew member was released after a Pakistani businessman paid USD1.2 million. One crewman was shot dead early on and five others died when the vessel sank during a storm last summer. The remaining crew members were being held in a ramshackle house in the pirate port haven of Hobyo. They were badly mistreated during their captivity. According to the United Nations, 38 sailors are still being held by the pirates.

7 June Three Kenyan aid workers, two men, Martin Mutisya Kioko and Abdinoor Dabaso Bor, and a woman, Janet Muthoni Kanga, were released after being held by Somali pirates. They were kidnapped while travelling in a convoy with a police escort in an ambush in the Galkayo area of Puntland in July 2012. The aid workers were employed by International Aid Services (IAS) which has its headquarters in Sweden.

Sudan

11 June Information technology engineer, Irfan Jaffrey (32), has been a kidnap victim in Darfur since 11 March. His kidnappers have demanded a ransom of Rs. 32 lakh (USD53,000) for his release. The victim’s employer, Trigyn Technologies Ltd., provide information and technology related work for UN missions around the world. The UN is involved in negotiations for the victim’s release but has a policy of not paying ransoms. The family has said it is ready to pay the ransom.

Swaziland

30 June Isaac Magagula, National Commissioner of Police, appealed to the public to assist the police stop kidnappings. He explained that the kidnappers identify a target, kidnap him and then demand a ransom for the victim’s release. The appeal came after two prominent business people were kidnapped and their kidnappers had demanded a ransom for their release.

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