SECURITY UPDATE – MAY 2014
AMERICA – NORTH
1 May Miranda de Wallace, President of Alto al Secuestro, in a press conference with Ciro Gomez Leyva, admitted that there had been a small fall in the number of kidnapping incidents in the country. However, in States such as Tamaulipas, the number of incidents has not fallen.
5 May In a monthly report published by el Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica, kidnapping has increased during the first three months of 2014 in Michoacan. In January, 22 incidents were reported, in February 23 incidents and there were 27 reported incidents in March. Over the same period there were 43 extortion incidents reported in January, 30 incidents in February and 43 incidents in March.
6 May La Asociacion Civil, Alto al Secuestro, said that between 1 December 2012 and 31 March 2014, there were 3,938 kidnapping cases in the country which represents 221 cases each month. The States with the largest number of cases during this period were: Estado de Mexico (773), Morelos (379), Guerrero (373), Tamaulipas (346) and Distrito Federal (252).
16 May Bishop Alejo Zavala Castro, responsible for the Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, said that Father Sean John, an Ugandan, had been kidnapped a week earlier after celebrating mass in Chilapa de Alvarez, Guerrero. Five armed men intercepted his vehicle and abducted him. His present whereabouts were not known.
19 May La Procuraduria General de Justicia del Estado and la Secretaria de Seguridad Publica released a report titled Resultados del Programa Estatal de Prevencion y Combate a la Inseguridad covering the two months March and April. It showed that the Oaxaca State is among the most secure in the country and registered a 50% drop in reported kidnapping incidents. Statistics released showed that during the two months there were 10 incidents in 2011, 8 in 2012, 7 in 2013 and 5 in 2014.
22 May The Federal Attorney General’s Office said that federal investigators aided by marines had rescued 35 people who had been kidnapped for ransom in the southern state of Guerrero. The victims were located during an investigation to find four people who went missing in Guerrero in October 2013. Four suspected kidnappers were arrested and a further six are being sought. The unnamed criminal gang responsible for the kidnappings operates in the towns of Apaxtla, Arcelia, Cocula and Teloloapan. Guerrero has seen a surge of violence in recent years that the authorities attribute to drug cartels.
22 May According to figures released by el Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica (SNSP) for the first four months of 2014, there were 683 reported incidents of kidnappings compared with 547 cases over the same period in 2013, an increase of 24.86%. Other statistics indicate: almost 4,000 kidnappings in the previous 16 months; Edomex had the largest number followed by Morelos; kidnappings have increased 21.5% compared to 2013. The NGO Alto al Secuestro claims the actual figure is double that of the official figures. The states recording the most kidnappings from January to April were: Tamaulipas (147), Michoacan (87), Veracruz (67), Morelos (61) and Estado de Mexico (59). Tamaulipas showed an increase of 35% compared with the same period in 2013 and Veracruz an increase of 80% over the same period. For the month of April, figures for states show: Tamaulipas (44); Veracruz (25); Michoacan and Morelos (15 each); Guerrero (12) and Estado de Mexico (9).
23 May Prosecutors said that Joel Javier Rodriguez Fuentes had been arrested as being the suspected mastermind behind the kidnapping of 12 young people from an afterhours bar close to Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City, last year. Their bodies were found months later in Mexico State. The group were targeted as revenge for the killing of a drug dealer in the capital.
27 May Isabel Miranda de Wallace, President, Alto al Secuestro, said during a press conference that the NGO had recorded 1,322 kidnaps during the first four months of 2014 compared with 755 kidnaps over the same period in 2013, an increase of 75%. She added that the states with the most recorded incidents are: Morelos, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Tabasco, Zacatecas, Estado de Mexico, Michoacán and el Distrito Federal.
28 May During a television interview, Egidio Torre Cantu, Governor of Tamaulipas, admitted that the crimes that most preoccupies residents in the state are kidnapping and extortion.
AMERICA – CENTRAL
15 May According to police sources, one month ago a member of the kidnapping gang, “Los Sabillion”, came to a finca in Las Flores in search of work. The purpose of the gang was for their member to report the movements of the finca owner with a view to kidnapping him. However, it appears that the finca workers found out his identity and he was killed in mysterious circumstances. This resulted in other gang members taking vengeance and killing four members of the family working on the finca.
22 May Claudia Cardoza Guardado (21) was kidnapped during the evening in San Alejo, Tela, Atlantida, when three armed men approached her and forced her into a vehicle without licence plates. Hours later the kidnappers contacted the family and demanded a substantial sum of money for her release. Claudia is the youngest daughter of Moises Cardoza Castro, a professor, who was shot in front of his students on 24 April at Maria Antonio Anariva School, near El Progreso.
AMERICA – SOUTH
4 May Yong Lin, of Chinese origin, was kidnapped by two men as he left a restaurant around 22:30pm. They drove him away. His father received a ransom demand of USD50,000. He was rescued 24 hours later and two men were arrested. It is believed the kidnapping was to settle a debt his father owed.
5 May According to a newspaper report, executives of the British Football Association (FA) are concerned for the safety of players who they believe are potential targets for kidnapping during the World Cup Finals in Brazil.
15 May The police anti-kidnapping division (DAS) arrested three more suspects in the kidnapping of the 15 year old daughter of Italian real estate entrepreneur, Castelluzo Ettore, in Cabo Frio, Lakes Region, in March. Father and daughter were kidnapped as they arrived at the family home in Arraial do Cabo, near Cabo Frio. The father was released to collect the ransom. Two days after the kidnapping, the kidnappers contacted the family and the police were able to trace the call. The teenager was found chained in the basement of a house and two of the kidnappers were killed during the rescue operation.
13 May The owner of Hotel La Ballena Azul in Taganga, Ricardo Trujillo, was rescued by agents from the Gaula after being kidnapped from his finca Playa Bonita, Guachaca, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Further details of the incident were not provided.
27 May Alejandra Cantoni, nine year old daughter of a local police commander was kidnapped from a school in Gauchene, 20 miles south of Cali. The girl was kidnapped by a group of armed men as she was entering the school in the morning. The kidnappers fled along a route commonly used by FARC guerrillas. The FARC ordered a ban on kidnapping in 2012 and, since then, the government says 80% of kidnappings have been carried out by common criminals. Kidnappings have decreased from 3,500 in 2000 to less than 300 last year. The two main rebel groups, FARC and ELN, were held responsible for 61 kidnappings in 2013. The girl was rescued 12 hours after being kidnapped after the vehicle in which she was being transported was stopped at a security forces roadblock.
20 May Rosinei Fick, the sister of Arlan Fick who was kidnapped on 2 April by suspected EPP militants, said that the family have not received any Proof of Life for her brother.
15 May Jose Sierralta, Director, el Cuerpo de Investigaciones Cientificas, Penales y Criminalisticas (Cicpc), said that actions by the organisation had resulted in a reduction of 54.1% in kidnapping in the country during 2013.
21 May According to Alejandro Marisio, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fernando Urrea (64), a Chilean national who had worked in Venezuela for 17 years and recently retired as manager of an insurance company, was kidnapped and subsequently killed although his body has not been found. He was kidnapped about 30 kilometres outside Caracas on 29 April and the motive appears to have been financial. Two people have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping.