AFRICA

Cameroon

22 March Governor Samuel Dieudonne Ivaha Diboua said that about 30 heavily armed fighters from the Central African Republic (CAR) seized a bus in Babio, near the Cameroon border with CAR on 19 March and kidnapped 16 people including local politicians and clergy. The Governor added that no one had claimed responsibility but it is suspected the incident was the work of rebels from the Democratic Front of the Central African Republic. Their leader is in jail in Cameroon and fighters from the group kidnapped several Cameroonians and a Polish priest last year in a bid to force his release.

Kenya

30 March In an updated travel advisory notice, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised British travellers to the country to avoid “all but essential travel” to within 15kms of the coast from the Tana River to Tiwi. This includes Mombasa airport, Mombasa Island, Malindi, Kalifi and Watamu. The FCO said there was a “high threat” from terrorism, including kidnapping and other violent crimes such as robberies and carjacking.

Libya

7 March Sources at the High Court in Tripoli said that Ibrahim Anis Beshia, acting Attorney General, had been kidnapped. They added that the victim was outside a court complex when he was kidnapped by a group of armed men. No group has claimed responsibility for the incident

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7 March Czech and Libyan officials said that seven foreign workers were missing after Islamist militants attacked the al Ghani oilfield earlier in the week. The missing workers include a Czech, an Austrian, a Bangladeshi and four Filipinos. Eleven guards were killed in the attack, several of whom were beheaded. The al Ghani oilfield is operated by a joint venture between Canada’s Suncor Energy and the Libyan run National Oil Company.

12 March The Ministry of Exterior in Tunis said that five Turkish nationals, who had been kidnapped on 9 March by unidentified gunmen, had been released. The five victims were from the same family and the Ministry went on to thank parties in Libya for assisting in the release.

16 March An official with the 166 Battalion, a militia which is fighting the local Islamic State group for control of Sirte, said that four Filipino nurses had been kidnapped in broad daylight from a hospital in Sirte. He added several other nurses had been evacuated.

17 March CNN reported that a group of more than 30 gunmen from Islamic State attacked the Ibn Sina Hospital in Sirte and kidnapped about 20 medical workers while a bus was waiting to take them to Tripoli. A hospital official said that most of the victims are Filipinos and others are from Ukraine, India and Serbia. The Philippines has banned the deployment of workers to Libya due to the escalating violence. (NB This is probably the same incident as that dated 16 March).

25 March The maritime registry of the Marshall Islands International Registries Inc. (IRI), issued a Yacht Advisory to yachts cruising in southern Mediterranean waters stating that Islamic State pirates were likely to operate out of Libya using speedboats to attack yachts.

Mozambique

4 March A group of gunmen attempted to kidnap the son Mr. Harif, the owner of Mini Mundo. According to a source, the gunmen fired five shots at the vehicle in which Mr. Harif’s son was travelling but he managed to escape. The incident happened in the Ponto Gea area of Beira.

8 March The police arrested two men accused of kidnapping a Chinese national in Beira. The victim was leaving a local shop in Matacuane at around 23:00 on 3 March when he was kidnapped. He was held for five days in a suburban area before being rescued by police following an anonymous tip off. It is believed there are seven members of the kidnapping gang and five have escaped. The police stated that a ransom demand of MT2 million (USD61,350) was made for the release of the victim.

19 March The police arrested four members of a kidnapping gang after they attempted to kidnap a six year old child in Maputo on 18 March. A spokesman said that three of those arrested are members of a Brazilian religious sect, the World Church of the Power of God, a breakaway sect from the Pentecostal cult, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. The fourth member was a domestic servant in the house where the child was staying. According to the police, the kidnappers intended to demand a ransom of USD148,000 from the child’s family but the police received advanced warning and were able to prevent the kidnapping.

20 March The Portuguese Consulate General confirmed that Mariamo Musa (19), who has dual Portuguese and Mozambican citizenship and is the daughter of the owner of Soprope, a shoe shop, had been kidnapped in the centre of Maputo. The victim was kidnapped after the kidnappers simulated a car accident by running into the back of the victim’s car causing the driver to pull over. The victim was dragged from her car and forced into the kidnappers’ car. There was an exchange of shots between the kidnappers and security guards. This is the third reported kidnapping of Portuguese citizens in Maputo since the beginning of the year. The victim was released on 24 March and was said to be in good health. No more details about the case were provided

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Nigeria

4 March A senior member of the family confirmed that the kidnappers of Chief Collins Idoko, traditional ruler of the Ikeighenbiri community of Sothern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, had been in contact and demanded N17 million (USD85,500) for his release. The traditional ruler was kidnapped at 2am on 21 February from his home. More than six gunmen abducted him from the room where he was sleeping with his wife and took him away in a speedboat. On 6 March, sources close to the family said that Chief Collins Idoko had been released on 3 March after spending 13 days with the kidnappers. When asked if a ransom had been paid, the source said he would not know.

7 March According to the Kogi State Police Commissioner, US missionary, Phyllis Sortor (71) of the Free Methodist Church, had been released by her kidnappers. She had been kidnapped by five gunmen on 23 February from the Hope Academy compound in Emiwori, Kogi State. The kidnappers originally demanded USD300,000 for her release but later reduced the demand to USD180,000. The Police Commissioner said that, as far as the police were aware, the victim was released without the payment of a ransom.

9 March Gunmen stormed a construction site in Nasarawa State and kidnapped a Syrian engineer, Mah Fath Nagor. The engineer, who works for Rim Construction Company, was inspecting a culvert and other water channels alongside the Adudu - Azara road when the gunmen struck at around 9:30am.

12 March The Executive Chairman and founder of Bond Group of Companies, Chief Adebowale Omotosho (78), was rescued by the Oyo State Police Command from his kidnappers’ hideout at Aja Village, Egbeda Local Government Area, Oyo State. The victim had been kidnapped from his residence at Gaa, Awe, Oyo State, on 4 March at around 7:30pm. The kidnappers demanded USD1 million for his release. It was reported that the kidnappers had already collected N10 million (USD50,250) in ransom. After a prolonged gun battle, the police rescued the victim and arrested seven gang members including one female.

13 March Unknown gunmen stormed a quarry outside Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, in the early hours of the morning and, after an exchange of gunfire with police guards, kidnapped three Chinese workers. One policeman was killed during the shootout. Local police said that the three victims were freed on 14 March during a joint operation of police and other security agents. A spokesman said the men were safe and sound without specifying whether there was a ransom.

15 March Heavily armed gunmen stormed the residence in Calabar of Dominic Oqua, a former commissioner on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and kidnapped him. The victim was ambushed and dragged out of his car as he returned from a political meeting at around 10:00pm. Mr. Oqua, who recently resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party to join the Labour Party, was seeking to represent Bakassi, Akpabuyo, Calabar South Federal constituency.

17 March Muylwa Adejobi, Public Relations Officer for the Ogun State Police Command, confirmed that police rescued Ms. Abosede Adenuga, from Lagos State, at around 10:50pm on Monday night and arrested a member of the kidnapping gang. The police had mounted an ambush on the Ijebu Ode – Ikorudu road after being informed about the kidnapping. The kidnappers drove into the ambush with their victim but some managed to escape when they saw the police.

19 March A police spokesman said that gunmen kidnapped Joseph Agama, younger brother of Nigeria’s Oil Minister and current Opec President, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in southern Bayelsa State. The victim was kidnapped at around 1:00pm in the Yenaka community of Yenagoa, the capital of the state. According to witnesses, the gunmen came in a boat and after kidnapping their victim, abandoned their original boat and fled in another one. Last October, gunmen kidnapped the Minister’s sister, Osiyo Agama, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. She was later rescued by security forces.

20 March Muahmmadu Usman, Emir of Bukukuyum in Zamfara State, was kidnapped from his palace by gunmen. Details of the incident were not clear.

Somalia

22 March Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, speaking at an international seminar on the Indian Ocean, said that Somali pirates are gradually shifting their base towards India. He added that piracy is a big threat in the region.

South Africa

3 March Two Pakistanis and three South Africans were charged with kidnapping and extortion after allegedly kidnapping a six year old pupil of the Islamic School in Mpumalanga. On 27 February, the boy’s father sent someone to the school to collect his son. The person was told that the boy had already been collected by a relative. Later that evening, the boy’s father received a call from an unknown person demanding R1 million (USD82,650). Two hours after the initial call, a SMS arrived instructing him to prepare the money to prevent the boy being harmed. The police tracked down the suspects and the boy was handed over to his father unharmed.

22 March The SA Police Service and metro police arrested two Pakistanis who allegedly kidnapped three Bangladeshi nationals from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. According to a police spokesman an operation was set up after information was received that the two suspects had already collected a ransom of R150,000 (USD12,400) and were going to collect a further R20,000 (USD1,650) at McDonalds in Xavier Street, Ormonde. After their arrest, the two Pakistanis took police to a house in Robertsham where the three men were found. One had been kidnapped on 29 January while the other two were kidnapped on 15 March.

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