AFRICA

Libya

7 June The Stockholm-based International Commission on Eritrean Refugees (ICER) reported that 86 Eritrean refugees, including 12 women and children, were kidnapped outside Tripoli. The militants ambushed a vehicle carrying Eritreans as they travelled to Tripoli. They separated the Christians from the Muslims and kidnapped them.

9 June An official at the Italian Foreign Ministry said that Ignazio Scaravilli (65), an Italian doctor who had been kidnapped on 6 January in Tripoli, had been released. The official said that the Libyan authorities in Tripoli had helped with obtaining the victim’s release. It was later reported that the Libyan authorities had detained Dr. Scaravilli as they investigated whether the Italian government paid a ransom for his release. It is believed the victim was kidnapped by Islamic extremists.

12 June According to the Tunisian Foreign Ministry, an armed group stormed the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli and kidnapped ten members of staff. Tripoli is controlled by Libya Dawn, a group that has set up its own government in opposition to Libya’s internationally recognised leaders. In May, the Tunisian authorities arrested Walid Kalib, a member of Libya Dawn. On 11 June, a Tunisian court had refused to release Kalib who faces kidnapping charges in Tunisia. A Libyan official and a Tunisian source said on 16 June that three of the consulate staff had been released and negotiations were continuing to obtain the release of the remaining seven members. The Tunisian government source would not give details about the negotiations or conditions set by the kidnappers. On 19 June, the Tunisian Foreign Minister announced the closure of the consulate in Tripoli as the remaining seven kidnapped members of staff returned to Tunisia after being released. The Foreign Minister denied that any deal had been made with the kidnappers.

14 June Eight Tunisians working in Tripoli were kidnapped not far from the city according to a report by Hussein Yahyaoui on state Tataouin Radio. Tunisian officials did not immediately confirm the incident.

Mali

23 June A video was released on YouTube showing Stephen Malcolm McGowan, a South African, and Johan Gustafsson, a Swedish national. The video runs for almost 19 minutes and is titled “A trip to interview two prisoners”. The opening sequence shows a group of armed men in the desert and the narrator is a masked man who speaks fluent English. The two men, bearded and dressed in robes, show no obvious signs of ill health and are shown being addressed by a masked interviewer who tells them that, unfortunately, the militants have not heard anything from the Swedish or South African governments. The two victims take turns to speak to the camera and each asks his government to step in to help them but also thank their governments for their efforts to date. The men were kidnapped at gunpoint by al Qaeda militants from a restaurant in Timbuktu, Mali, in November 2011. A German man was shot dead during the abduction and a Dutch hostage taken with them was rescued by chance by French special forces earlier this year. The video could not be independently verified by Reuters and a spokesman for the South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation said the government would not comment on a hostage situation. The date of the video was not clear but could be dated to coincide with McGowan’s mother’s birthday and his wedding anniversary which he alludes to in his message.

Mozambique

8 June The Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) rescued Safura da Conceicao, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Movitel and a member of the Frelimo Central Committee, who had been kidnapped the previous week in the Central District of Maputo. The kidnapping gang consisted of three Mozambicans and four Vietnamese nationals. The PRM began to investigate the incident shortly after it occurred and established that the kidnappers were renting a house in Malhangalene they then raided. Only one of the alleged kidnappers, a Vietnamese, was arrested.

19 June An unnamed man of Asian origin was kidnapped by four armed men in Malhangalene district during the morning. Eye witnesses said the victim was dragged from his car in the street and did not offer resistance. This is the eighth kidnapping this year and the third this month. Two weeks earlier a 45 year old man of Pakistani origin, a merchant, was kidnapped in Central District, Maputo, and a 27 year old Mozambican man, who works in the hotel industry in Maputo, was also kidnapped. Neither has been released.

19 June The PRM rescued a 15 month old child who had been kidnapped in the Nkobe neighbourhood of Matola on 15 June. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of one million meticais (USD28,500) but later reduced it to 100,000 meticais (USD2,850). Four people were arrested including two domestic servants working in the family residence and a former servant.

22 June According to Orlando Mudumane, a PRM spokesman, two men who were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of an unnamed student in Maputo on 18 June were killed during an exchange of fire when, on 20 June, the police raided the safe house were the victim was being held. The student had been kidnapped in the centre of Maputo by four armed men. The safe house was said to be owned by the parents of the leader of the kidnapping gang who were away at the time.

Nigeria

4 June Alhaji Bala Hassan, Assistant Inspector-General of Police in Sokoto, disclosed that Hawwau Amarea (100) had been rescued in an operation mounted by agents from the new anti-kidnap squad. The old lady had been kidnapped at Kudin village, Mhauta Local Government Area, Kebbi State. The kidnappers had demanded N10 million (USD50,250) for the victim’s release. A part payment of the ransom was taken to a location designated by the kidnappers where the police mounted a surveillance operation. As the kidnappers approached, the police moved in and, after a short gun battle, the kidnappers abandoned the money and fled. No kidnapper was arrested.

5 June Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, Kogi State Commissioner of Police, disclosed that Mr. Solomon Arase, Inspector General of Police (IGP), had deployed 350 policemen to Kogi State to assist the police command in its effort to combat kidnapping and other crimes.

9 June Reverend Father Emmanuel Akingbade, Parish Priest of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Ido-Ekiti, Ekiti diocese, was kidnapped at around 8:00pm by gunmen at Ido-Ekiti, Ekiti State. Eye witness reports stated that three gunmen stormed the victim’s residence shooting sporadically in the air. The Bishop of the diocese said that one of the gunmen pointed a gun at the head of one of the occupants of the residence and ordered him to take them to the Priest’s room. The kidnappers demanded N20 million (USD100,500) as a ransom. Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State, offered a reward N2 million (USD10,000) for information about the kidnapping. The victim was held for seven days before being released. The Catholic Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaiye, insisted that no ransom was paid for the victim’s release.

13 June Pastor Seyi Adekunle of the Living Faith Church (aka Winners’ Chapel) was kidnapped during a prayer session when five gunmen stormed the church premises, shooting in the air, and forced the Pastor into a car before driving away. The church is located along IBB Way opposite the Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Cross River State.

17 June Amos Samaiye (97) was rescued by police after being kidnapped from his home in Ijebu –Ode, Ogun State, on 12 June. He was taken into a forest where he was held until rescued. A member of a kidnapping for ransom gang has been arrested.

19 June Michael Adewunmi, Executive Secretary of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, was kidnapped at Akinjo Junction, Akure, Ondo State, from his vehicle. No demands have been received.

20 June In a newspaper review of kidnapping in Kogi State, the author claimed that investigations showed that between March and May 2015, about 14 people were kidnapped of which 9 were foreigners. It also revealed that various amounts of ransom had been paid to secure the release of the victims although the state governor, family members and the police deny the payment of any ransoms. Justice Samuel Obayomi, who was kidnapped on 25 May, is the only hostage who has not been released. It is believed that he is alive.

24 June Santiago Lopez Menendez (28), an Argentinean agronomist working on the production of maize and soya at Kobaji Farm, Kontagora, for Flour Mills of Nigeria, was kidnapped by four armed men riding motorcycles in Machagu, Niger State, as he travelled to the farm. Commissioner of Police, Olusola Amore, said that the police normally provide protection to all foreigners working in the state but the victim chose to travel alone without a police escort. The kidnappers drove him away in his vehicle. He had been working in Nigeria for one year and was the only foreigner living in the area. The victim was released on 26 June. He later credited his release to Lionel Messi, the Argentinean football international. He said he had shouted “Messi, Messi, Messi” to establish a rapport with the kidnappers who later released him after an undisclosed ransom was paid.

27 June The Police in Rivers State confirmed the release on 26 June of Rosemond Osagholu, a professor and Vice Chancellor of Ignatius Ajuru University, Port Harcourt. She was kidnapped on 20 June as she left the University campus. The Police Public Relations Officer of the State did not disclose the location of the victim’s release or if a ransom had been paid.

28 June Justice Samuel Obayomi, a Kogi State High Court Judge, was released by his kidnappers just before midnight on 27 June after being held captive for 34 days. State Commissioner for Police, Samuel Ogunjemilusi, would not say where the Judge was released or if a ransom had been paid. The victim was kidnapped on 25 May by three men at around 8:45am as he was driving to work at Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi State. His police orderly was shot dead. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of N150 million (USD753,750).

30 June Mrs. Martha Binabo (48), wife of Chief Nestor Binabo, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, was kidnapped by five gunmen from her place of work at the premises of Seleyibo Multi-Global Co. Ltd. at Agbura in Yenagoa at about 11:30am. The gunmen arrived in a Toyota vehicle, kidnapped their victim and drove her to the Otuokpoti waterfront where they transferred her into a speedboat before making their escape. Eye witnesses reported that two of the gunmen had alighted from the Toyota and told the victim that they had been sent by the Commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, to take her to JTF headquarters. Supporters of Chief Binabo insinuated that the kidnapping was for political motives.

30 June The Police in Nasarawa State confirmed that Mrs. Mary Enwongulu, All Progressive Congress’ candidate for Akwanga/Nasarawa Eggon/Wamba Federal Constituency at the 2015 general election, had been kidnapped during the night. The victim’s personal assistant said that gunmen came to her house at about 2:00am and kidnapped her. Gunshots were heard during the kidnapping incident.

30 June Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State sent an Executive Bill seeking the death penalty for convicted kidnappers in the state to the House of Assembly for consideration and passage. The bill also seeks to empower the government to seize property belonging to convicted kidnappers and other criminals in the state and offers rewards to citizens who volunteer information to the security agencies about activities of criminals.

Sudan

5 June Two Russians who were employees of UTair airline, were rescued from their kidnappers by security forces and the kidnappers were captured. The Russian Ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinsky, said: “The release took place without violence or a ransom payment”.

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