GENERAL

United Nations

24 November In her address to a joint meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) in New York, Raimonda Murmokaite, Permanent Representative of Lithuania and Chairperson of the CTC, said that the practice of kidnap for ransom and hostage taking continues to provide the world’s terrorists with a reliable source of income to fund their operations. She added that even though the Security Council had urged Member States to view hostage-taking as a domestic offence, the practice was expanding rapidly amid a flourishing of extremist groups in volatile regions of the world. She went on to note that militant groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had made kidnapping for ransom and hostage taking “a strategic modus operandi in funding their operations”. According to Yotsna Lalji, an UN expert who monitors sanctions against al Qaeda, ransoms brought terrorist groups some USD120 million between 2004 and 2012. She added that the group calling itself the Islamic State had collected between USD35 million and USD45 million in the past year. She gave the following figures for other al Qaeda linked groups: AQAP (Yemen based) – USD20 million between 2011 and 2013; AQIM (North Africa) – USD75 million over the past four years; Boko Haram (Nigeria) and al Shabaab (Somalia) “have collected millions of dollars over the past years”; Abu Sayyaf (the Philippines) has received about USD1.5 million.

AFRICA

Cameroon

26 November The government announced that the army had rescued 16 hostages including the Polish Catholic priest, Mateusz Dziedzic, who was abducted in the Central African Republic in October. However, the rebel force, the Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC), said in a statement it had handed over voluntarily the hostages after the intervention of a former minister of the Central African Republic, Karim Meckassoua. The priest was kidnapped on 12 October in the Central African Republic. The FDPC were hoping to use him and 15 Cameroonian hostages as bargaining chips to secure the release of their leader, Abdoulaye Miskine, who has been held in jail in Cameroon since last year. The Cameroonian hostages were kidnapped in the towns of Baboua and Beloka in mid-October. On 27 November officials said that rebel chief Abdoulaye Miskine had been freed from prison which seemed to indicate this was done in response to the release of the hostages. Miskine and Roman Catholic priest Dziedzic appeared in front of journalists at the airport in the Congolese capital, Brazzaville. Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso had worked as a mediator during negotiations.

Egypt

12 November According to a report on al Ahram’s Arabic news website, the son of a high level Egyptian security officer was kidnapped by unknown gunmen on his way to school. The gunmen stopped a private car on the outskirts of Cairo and forced the boy into a second car before driving away.

25 November Ebram Louis, the founder of the association for the Victims of Abductions and Enforced Disappearances, said that the police are biased against Christians whose daughters have been kidnapped by Muslims. He added that the police are afraid of the militant groups and will not act even if the family have received a ransom demand. He emphasised that Copts are still suffering from incidents of kidnapping for ransom and it is easy for kidnappers to target members of rich families to extort them for ransom.

Libya

8 November Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, said that two Ukrainian doctors, husband and wife, had been released by their kidnappers “after huge efforts”. The couple were kidnapped in September from Benghazi, a stronghold of Islamist militants. No information was available as to whether a ransom was paid.

13 November Marco Vallisa (54), an Italian citizen, was released by his kidnappers. He was kidnapped on 5 July 2014 with two other employees of the Italian construction company Piacentini Construzioni, Bosnian Petar Matic and Macedonian Miljazim Gafuri (29). The latter two were released almost immediately. Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the release was the “fruit of teamwork between the Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Unit, the Italian intelligence services and the Italian embassy in Tripoli”. His statement gave no details of the release. Later Libyan security sources told Agence France Presse (AFP) that the victim had been released after the payment of a ransom of around one million euros (USD1.25 million) to the armed militia that had been holding him.

15 November According to a report from a correspondent of The Anadolu Agency, nine Turkish citizens who were kidnapped by soldiers on 31 October while travelling to Misrata City to leave Libya had been released. They were held in Benghazi before being handed over to the authorities.

15 November The Italian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that Gianluca Salviato (48) had been freed by his kidnappers and arrived in Rome the previous evening. The victim had been working on a sewer construction project for an Italian company, Enrico Ravanelli, in the eastern city of Tobruk when he was kidnapped on 22 March. No details were given about how the release of Salviato was arranged.

Morocco

8 November According to a newspaper report, the 16 year old son of a real estate developer in Tangiers, was rescued by police from a house in the under privileged neighbourhood of Beni Mekada. The boy had been contacted on Facebook by a female member of the kidnapping gang who persuaded him to meet her on 30 October. On meeting her, he discovered other members of the gang were present and forced him into a car. The kidnappers contacted his family and demanded a ransom of MAD1 million (USD112,600) for his release. This was later reduced to MAD300,000 (USD33,800). Seven members of the gang, including the young woman, were arrested.

Mozambique

1 November According to police reports, Abdul Aziz (62), of Asian origin and owner of SOCOAL, a company that sells electric and construction material, was kidnapped on 30 October when four unidentified armed men abducted him from his shop in Rua Irmaos Roby, Micadjuine, and forced him into a vehicle. Apparently, the victim was previously kidnapped in July 2013. This is reportedly the eighth kidnapping incident in Maputo in less than one month. According to unconfirmed reports on 12 November, the victim had been released after the payment of an undisclosed ransom.

1 November On 31 October, a court in Beira sentenced two Pakistanis and three Mozambicans to between 15 and 24 years in prison for the murder of a police officer and the kidnapping of a seven year old child. The child was kidnapped from Manga, Beira, in January 2014. The kidnappers were paid a ransom of 1.5 million Meticais (USD48,500) for the child’s release.

11 November Subania Bismundo (6) was kidnapped from her parent’s house in Carrupeia, Nampula. The police acted swiftly, rescued the victim in Nacala and arrested two young people, one of whom is the victim’s cousin who admitted to the police that they had carried out the kidnapping for economic reasons. The two also admitted that the original target was the son of an unnamed foreigner for who they planned to ask a ransom of two million Meticais (USD64,500). Because of “unforeseen circumstances” they decided to kidnap the young girl and ask a ransom of 225,000 Meticais (USD7,250).

12 November Mohamed Bachir Suleiman, considered to be one of the richest men in Maputo who owns a number of companies including Grupo MBS Limitada and the Maputo Shopping Centre, was kidnapped by four armed men as he left the Maputo Shopping Centre around 2:00pm. Eye witnesses reported three were of Asian and one of African descent and the four kidnappers had been waiting in a car for the victim to leave the mosque adjacent to the Shopping Centre. They forced him into a car and sped away. The director of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) claimed that the victim “is a large scale narcotics trafficker and his network contributes to the growing trend of narcotics trafficking and related money laundering across southern Africa”. Bachir donates funds to the ruling Frelimo Party. According to a source close to the investigation, the kidnappers made contact with the victim’s family on 18 November but did not demand a ransom just stating that Bachir “is in good health” and that they would call back with the ransom sum and method of payment.

13 November Reyma Ayoob (38), widow of businessman Momad Khalib Ayoob, who was murdered in an assassination in Maputo in April 2012, was released by her kidnappers after being kidnapped on 22 October when she was forced from her car on Avenida Milagre Mabote, Maputo, by four gunmen. Allegedly, the family refused to involve the police in the negotiations for her release which were carried out between two groups, one of Pakistanis and the other Mozambicans. Sources indicated that an unspecified ransom was negotiated for her release.

24 November A businessman of Asian origin who was identified as “Issufo” was kidnapped by three armed men when two vehicles blocked Rua Eusebia da Silva in Maputo. The victim was forced into one of the vehicles as he left his shop. Reports suggest that the victim owns a supermarket.

25 November Georgina Mubai (52) was kidnapped from her home in Belo Horizonte, near Boane, by four armed men posing as timber buyers who forced their way into her house. The kidnappers demanded that her husband hand over all the family money but, as he only had 30,000 Meticais (USD970.00) in his bank account; they kidnapped his wife and told him he had two days to raise an undisclosed ransom.

25 November The Mozambican police (PRM) reported they had arrested four men accused of kidnapping Amichande Prakachanda (80), owner of Gindolo hardware store, in Inhambane on 18 August this year. Two members of the gang were arrested on 18 August, a third member was arrested five days later and a fourth member was arrested earlier in November. The PRM believe the gang consists of seven members and the remaining three are living in Maputo.

Nigeria

1 November Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau announced in a video obtained by Agence France Presse (AFP) that the Islamist group are holding a German hostage who was kidnapped from Gombi, Adamawa State, on 16 July. He threatened to kill the German saying “if we want, we will hack him or slaughter him or shoot him”. The unnamed victim was reportedly a teacher at a government training centre. Shekau added that claims of a ceasefire between Boko Haram and the government are false and the 200 Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped more than six months ago have converted to Islam and been married off.

21 November Ndubuisi Nduka, Head Coach of Nigerian Premier League Team, FC Taraba, was released along with his brother after being held by kidnappers for four days. The two brothers were kidnapped during the evening of 17 November by six armed men while driving along the Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway near Ugba Junction. They were taken into thick jungle and held in the kidnappers’ den. Initially a ransom of N20 million (USD123,000) was demanded but Nduka said he was able to negotiate this down to a “substantial sum” prior to their release.

22 November Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye, paraded five suspects before journalists in the state capital, Abeokuta. He explained that the men were members of three kidnapping syndicates operating in Ogun State and they had been captured in a police operation against kidnappers’ hideouts in which a further four suspects were killed during shoot outs. One of the arrested leaders is a dismissed member of the Nigerian Army, Akindele Jaiyesinmi, who confessed to the kidnapping of Madam Rachael Hazzan, mother of a member of the Ogun State House of Assembly. A ransom of N1 million (USD6,200) was paid for her release.

23 November HRM Augustine Ebikeme, the traditional ruler of Oporomor Kingdom, Bayelsa State, spiritual leader of Egbesu, Ijaw war deity and vice chairman of Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, was kidnapped by gunmen from Kokori, Ethiope East Local Government Area, Delta State. In a joint operation by agents of the Joint Task force (JTF) and the Department of State Security (DSS), he was rescued from an uncompleted house in the jungle in Kokori. The rescue force is said to have stormed the kidnappers’ hideout while ransom negotiations were going on with the victim’s family. The kidnappers escaped into the swamps.

27 November Police detectives attached to the Special Anti Robbery Unit (SARS) of the Lagos State Police Command arrested a member of a five man gang who posed as well known businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, on Facebook in order to kidnap beauty queen, Sa-adat Usman Bibire (20). Contact was made with the beauty queen on Facebook and she was invited to become a brand ambassador for Dangote Noodles. She travelled to Warri to meet with the businessman and was kidnapped. The kidnappers contacted her father and demanded N20 million (USD123,000) and told him to transfer the money to a bank account in Malaysia. With the help of telecom operators, the police were able to trace the kidnappers’ telephones numbers and mount a rescue operation to free the victim.

28 November Three foreign construction workers employed by Elmerit and working on road projects, two Pakistanis and an Indian, were kidnapped by gunmen at Emakalakala town, Ogbia council area, Bayelsa State, a few miles from their construction base. The victims were forced into a speed boat which sped away.

27 November Augustine Alumona, President, Nsukka Town Development Union, was kidnapped by gunmen while travelling along the Opi-Ugwugo Nike road on his way to Enugu from his home in Echarra, Enugu State.

Somalia

1 November Kenyan based Ecoterra International that monitors maritime activity in the Indian Ocean, issued a statement confirming the release of seven Indian sailors who had been held by Somali pirates for almost four years. It is understood the sailors were released after the payment of an undisclosed ransom. The pirates had previously released the ship and eight crew members in April 2011 after the payment of a ransom.

8 November Iman Addow Karshe, Mayor of Gedo, regional capital of Garbahaaray, said that three doctors and their two drivers, all Somali citizens, were kidnapped close to As Asey that is near Beledhawo, in the southwest of the country. The party was returning from attending a workshop on health in the Kenyan border town of Mandera. The Mayor added that the reasons behind their kidnapping were unclear but he believed al Shabaab were responsible for the incident.

16 November Ugochukwu Ugorji-Eke, the state correspondent of The Nation newspaper, was kidnapped in the Ogbor Hill area of Aba, Abia State. According to eye witnesses, at around 7:30pm unknown gunmen accosted the victim outside his house, dragged him from his car, forced him into another car and sped away. Less than 24 hours later, the kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded a ransom of N20 million (USD123,000) for his release.

Your Comments (12 so far)

Post a comment

We will never abuse your trust. See our privacy policy for details.

Post comment:

Post with Facebook Post with Twitter Post with LinkedIn