ASIA

Afghanistan

2 June Unknown gunmen kidnapped Father Alexis Prem Kumar, an Indian aid worker, from Zenda Jan district, Herat province. The victim was taken while visiting the area to assess an aid project.

5 June A Taliban commander said that the deal which saw US Sergeant Bowe Beghdahl swapped for five senior Taliban chiefs held at Guantanamo Bay has made the kidnapping of high value American targets more appealing. The Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Omar, praised their release as a “big victory”.

23 June Militants in the eastern province of Ghazni released 24 out of 34 university professors and students from Kandahar University who had been kidnapped on 10 June from a bus as they travelled along the highway in Qara Bagh district. An official said the hostages were released “unconditionally” as a result of the intervention of government officials and mediation by local leaders.

India

13 June Ram Dayal Vaishnav (35), owner of Suguna Jewellers in Bangalore, was kidnapped by four men in a SUV while returning home after shutting the shop at 10:00pm. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s brother and demanded a ransom of Rs. 1 crore (USD165,600). During negotiations the ransom was reduced to Rs.10 lakh (USD16,600) and finally Rs.2 lakh (USD3,300). The police mounted an entrapment operation at the payment and arrested three suspected kidnappers. The victim was rescued after the incident had lasted 10 hours.

14 June Police arrested a couple who worked as driver and receptionist in the hotel belonging to a rich businessman in New Delhi. They had kidnapped the businessman’s 14 year old son in February from Patna, Bihar, and demanded a ransom of Rs2 crore (USD330,000).

15 June Three Tripura businessmen and their driver were kidnapped near Faileng village, western Mizoram. Five businessmen from northern Tripura were travelling to western Mizoram in connection with their trading activities when their vehicle was stopped by armed militants believed to be members of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). Two of the businessmen escaped. In separate incidents last year, the NLFT kidnapped three Tripura businessmen and a telecommunications specialist from the same area in Mizoram. The victims were later released after ransoms were paid.

21 June People living from Mazbat to Gohpur, in the northern part of Sonitpur district along the Assam-Arunuchal Pradesh border, have complained that the police and security forces are not doing enough to protect them from kidnapping and extortion. Intelligence sources believe that the NDFB (Ranjan Daimari and Songbijit factions), AANLA, Virsa Commando Force (VCF), Cobra Militant Force and some Muslim armed groups are active in the area. Extortion demands range from Rs.10,000 (USD166) to Rs.1 lakh (USD1,660) to be paid by businessmen, rich farmers, tea growers and government employees. Recently in Dhekiajuli a school student, Aditya Jaiswal, was kidnapped and the kidnappers contacted the child’s father with a ransom demand of Rs.1 crore (USD165,600). The victim was rescued by the security forces.

25 June Four traders, Gulu Sheikh, Shah Alom, and brothers Ajgar and Musaddar Ali, were kidnapped while travelling to the weekly bazaar in Dadenggre town in the West Garo Hills, Assam. The police suspect that members of the banned Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) are responsible for the kidnapping.

Nepal

5 June It was reported that Kumar Chaudhary (2 ½), son of Rakesh Chaudhary who runs a metal business, was kidnapped on 28 May from Suryabinayak, Bhaktapur District. The child was playing at his father’s business premises when last seen. The kidnapper called the victim’s father a few hours after he went missing and demanded Rs15 million (USD158,000) for his son’s release.

11 June Bhuwan KC (37) was kidnapped in Gulmi District, Kathmundu, by seven men. They demanded Rs.800,000 (USD8,300) for his release. The victim was held for three days before police rescued him.

Pakistan

13 June Saifur Rehman, a contractor from Gulraiz Colony, was taken to Peshawar by one of his friends, Abdullah Khan, on 21 May, who later called Rehman’s family and said he had been kidnapped. The kidnappers demanded Rs10 million (USD100,000) for his release. After negotiations, the demand was reduced to Rs1.2 million (USD12,000). The police arrested the suspected kidnappers but discovered the victim had been sold for Rs80,000 (USD800) to a group of Taliban in Khyber Agency.

21 June Leaders of three town associations met top executives of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) to complain about the increase in the number of kidnapping for ransom incidents in recent months. They said that around 17 businessman had disappeared in the past three to four months and criticised the police and Rangers for their failure to ensure the safety and security of people in Karachi. The asked the KCCI to take up the security situation at the highest level.

FAR EAST

Malaysia

2 June Speculation mounted over whether or not a “large ransom” was paid for the release of Chinese tourist, Gao Hua Yuan (29), and Filipina resort worker, Marcy Dayawan (40), who were kidnapped from Singamata Reef Resort, Semporna, Sabah, on 2 April. Malaysian Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin, said the release had been achieved through negotiations between the Philippine authorities and the kidnappers. This contradicted a report by news agency Reuters that said a “large ransom” was paid. Several high ranking Philippines government officials, including a high ranking officer in Manila, revealed that, although a “ransom” may not have been paid, there was “expenditure” amounting to a fraction of the RM36.4 million (USD11 million) demanded by the kidnappers that the Malaysian government had to bear for the release of the two victims. On 8 June, Marcy Dayawan in a report to Bombo Radyo Network said the family of Gao Hua Yan had paid a ransom of P300 million (USD6,900,000).

2 June Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Director-General, Datuk Mohamad Mantek, said that Malaysian security forces are making significant headway in the fight to neutralise Philippines’ kidnap for ransom groups that have been striking the east coast of Sabah. A recent meeting between Malaysian security officials and their Philippine counterparts had improved the gathering of information about the groups and, so far, 14 such groups have been identified of which seven are still active.

7 June Pirates hijacked the MT Budi Mesra Dua, a vessel carrying diesel, off Bintulu, Sarawak, while it was sailing from Singapore to Labuan. The crew of 25, a Filipino, 18 Malaysians, three Indonesians, two Bangladeshis and an Indian, were held for 10 hours while the pirates stole the diesel. The hostages were released unharmed.

16 June Chan Sai Chiun (32), a Malaysian fish breeder, and his Filipino worker, Maslan (20), were kidnapped by two Filipino gunmen from a fish farm at Kampung Sampang, Kunak, Sabah. It is believed that the kidnappers were taking the victims to the Philippines by speedboat when the Filipino worker managed to escape by jumping off the boat. On 20 June a call was made to Chan’s wife by the kidnappers who informed her that they were holding her husband. She also had the chance to speak briefly to her husband. The Philippines police arrested a suspected accomplice of the kidnap for ransom gang amid claims that the kidnappers were demanding a ransom of RM12 million (USD3.7M) for Chan’s release. The suspected accomplice was released due to the lack of conclusive evidence.

Philippines

1 June In an operation mounted by combined military and police forces in Munai town, Lanao del Norte, Kevin Jhon Montajes (22), was rescued and one of the kidnapping suspects arrested. The victim had been kidnapped on 16 May. A spokesman for the Army’s First Infantry Division could not immediately give the motive behind the kidnapping or whether a ransom was paid.

21 June Seven soldiers died and 24 were wounded by a wayward mortar bomb during an operation mounted by a special unit of special forces that has been formed for a rescue mission to free about 10 kidnap victims, including foreigners, in Sulu. Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, Commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the operation is a joint effort of all units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He added that, based on information they received, there are about 10 hostages being held captive by different factions of Abu Sayyaf and most of the victims are foreigners. Reports claim that Abu Sayyaf are holding two European bird watchers, Elwold Horns and Lorenzo Vinceguerre; two Germans, Stefan Viktor Okonek and Herike Diesen; two Malaysians and four Filipinos.

22 June An unnamed female Chinese tourist who had been kidnapped on 20 June, was rescued in Pasay City, Manila, by the Philippine National Police. Three suspects were arrested. The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of P2 million (USD46,000). The kidnappers were moving their victim from hotel to hotel but the police were able to intercept the gang.

25 June After more than 4 months in captivity, Sabrina Ikbala-Voon was freed by her kidnappers near Zamboanga City. She had been kidnapped on 19 February from her house in Barabgay Mercedes, Zamboanga City, by armed men. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of P50 million (USD1.15 million) but the family said they did not pay a ransom.

29 June In an update to its travel advice, Australia advised its nationals against travelling to parts of Mindanao because of a “very high threat” of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violence and crime. The statement said: “We continue to strongly advise you not to travel to central and western Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula and Sulu Archipelago, due to a very high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups. We continue to advise you to reconsider your need to travel to eastern Mindanao. We continue to advise you to exercise a high degree of caution overall in the Philippines”.

29 June A spokesman for the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said that the leader of a notorious kidnap-for-ransom gang, Jaojin Salam, and his aide, Abdullah Ermeron, had been killed during a gun battle with a joint army and police team at Baragay San Roque, Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte on 26 June.

29 June The Abu Sayyaf militants who had kidnapped Remigio Lingayan, called his wife Analiza, to say that had halted their plan to behead her husband citing the observance of Ramadan as the reason. Abu Sayyaf kidnapped Lingayan (50) along with his brother-in-law, Joselito Gonzalez, on 4 June in Indianan town while they were working on a project for Sulu vice governor, Sakur Tan. Gonzalez was reported to have been killed on 19 June in an exchange of fire between Abu Sayyaf and military forces in Patikul. His death has yet to be confirmed by the military. The kidnappers initially demanded a P20 million (USD460,000) ransom but reduced it to P3 million (USD70,000) and gave the family ten days in which to pay. The deadline passed on 29 June.

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