LATIN AMERICA – GENERAL

20 October In a report titled “Violencia e Inseguridad el La Region”, Mexico is listed as the country that had the most reported kidnapping cases (2,663) during 2013. Venezuela is in second place with 382 and third is Colombia with 299.

AMERICA – NORTH

Mexico

5 October According to the authorities in the southern state of Guerrero, the badly burned bodies of at least 28 people were found in a mass grave. The bodies are thought to be those of students from a famously radical teacher training college who went missing in September after they clashed with corrupt local police. Local officials said that at least 34 bodies had been buried in six burial pits found in rugged terrain about 2 kms from the nearest road. The total number of missing is thought to be 43.

7 October According to la Encuesta Nacional de Victimizacion y Percepcion sobre la Seguridad Publica (Envipe) 2014 of INEGI, the number of kidnappings during the first full year, 2013, of the presidency of President Enrique Pena Nieto increased by 24.8% when compared to the previous year, 2012. Also al Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas y Geografia estimated that there were 105,682 kidnappings in 2012 compared to 131,946 in 2013. Official figures contrast greatly with those of el Secretariado Ejecutiva del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica that state in 2012 in the country there were 1,418 cases whereas in 2013 there were 1,698 cases, an increase of 20%. INEGI estimates the “cifra negra” to be 93.8%, the highest number for four years.

8 October La Procuraduria General de Justicia del Estado de Mexico (PGJEM) announced the arrest of Alessandro Ricalde Barocio (29), alias “El Ricalde” who was wanted in connection with the kidnapping of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, el Jefe Diego. ”El Ricalde” was a municipal policeman in Huixquilucan from 2003 to 2007. In 2009 he was involved in a homicide against another municipal policeman. El Jefe Diego was kidnapped in 2011 and held for almost two years before being released after the payment of a large ransom.

10 October The Spanish police resolved the virtual kidnapping of an unnamed Spanish businessman in the financial district of Mexico DF that lasted four days. The kidnappers contacted the man’s family from a prison in Tamaulipas. The criminals, pretending to be from the Mexican police, had called the businessman in his hotel and persuaded him to move locations as a his hotel was about to be the subject of a police operation. Once he had moved, they contacted him again and made threats using information about him and his family. They threatened to have him killed if his family did not pay a ransom. The businessman’s brother in Spain contacted the Spanish Embassy in Mexico to report the incident.

15 October In a report published by Alto al Secuestro it stated that Acapulco is the city that registered the most kidnapping cases, 135, between 1 December 2012 and 30 September 2014. The other cities listed were: Ecatepec (115), Cuernavaca (112), Morelia (101) and Nezahualcoyoti (96). The report also states that from January to September 2014 there were 2,423 reported kidnappings in the country, a rise of 15.6% on the figure of 2,096 over the same period in 2013.

17 October During a press conference, Renato Sales, coordinador Nacional Antisecuestro, said that there had been 96 reported kidnappings in September, the lowest figure for the past four years. The figure compares favourably with the 116 reported incidents in August, a reduction of 17.24%. He added that there has also been a reduction in the number of reported kidnappings in Estado de Mexico for the period January to September. In 2013 there were 141 reported incidents and in 2014 126 over this period. In addition, the authorities have arrested 305 alleged kidnappers, dismantled 46 groups and freed 116 victims.

19 October According to Reforma newspaper, 8,334 people have disappeared in the country during the first 21 months of President Enrique Pena’s mandate. About 5,000 are men and 43% were between 14 and 30 years old when they disappeared. The data indicates that, if the rate of disappearances continues, the number will exceed the 22,917 who disappeared during President Felipe Calderon’s administration (2006-2012).

22 October El Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica (SNSP) released figures for crimes of high impact over the period January to September 2014 which included those for reported kidnappings. The figures show there were 1,128 reported incidents during the period of which the most were in Tamaulipas (200), followed by Estado de Mexico (126), Veracruz (122), Morelos (98), Michoacan (96) and Guerrero (89).

27 October The Mexican authorities reported the arrest of four members of the “Guerreros Unidos” drug gang allegedly involved in the kidnapping of dozens of student teachers who disappeared in September from Iguala, Guerrero, and are feared massacred. The authorities have arrested more than 50 people in connection with the incident including dozens of policemen who have links to “Guerreros Unidos”.

31 October Seven cyclists and an assistant (five men and three women) were kidnapped while on a training ride in the mountainous outskirts of Mexico City. The cyclists were kidnapped on a road near Ajusco and taken away in two vans. Among those kidnapped were noted triathletes Fabiola Corona and Jorge Fuentes and coach Carlos Probert. The victims were released after a ransom was paid.

USA

10 October The State Department updated its global threat warning stating there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against the US and its partners in the international coalition against Islamic extremists. In the update of its “Worldwide Caution” advisory, the State Department said that Islamic State militants called for their supporters “to attack foreigners wherever they are”.

24 October David Cohen, Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, called on partner nations not to pay ransom for kidnap victims to help fight global terrorism. He added that not every country is committed to the no-ransoms policy as the Islamic State has received about USD20 million in ransom payments in 2014.

AMERICA – CENTRAL

Costa Rica

27 October Four Nicaraguans and a Costa Rican were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a Guapiles businessman and demanding a ransom of c120 million (USD226,000). According to police reports, the businessman was stopped in his car, forced out, bound, gagged and driven away in the kidnappers’ vehicle. Shortly after the abduction, the victim’s brother received a telephone call with a ransom demand. After negotiations, a payment of c40 million (USD75,300) was agreed and paid. The police mounted an operation at the location of the payment and arrested the kidnappers.

Guatemala

3 October The security agencies detained a married couple who worked in a school in connection with the kidnapping and killing of a schoolgirl from the school in Santa Faz, Chinautla. The kidnapping occurred on 25 September. The kidnappers contacted the girl’s family and demanded a ransom payment of 100,000 quetzals (USD13,000) for her release. When the family refused to pay the ransom, the kidnappers killed the girl and buried her in the grounds of the school.

AMERICA – SOUTH

Bolivia

26 October Agents from el Centro Especial de Investigacion Policial (CEIP) from La Paz and Santa Cruz arrested members of a local group involved in the kidnapping of Ramiro Arturo Jordan Fernandez, a Brazilian agriculture engineer, who was kidnapped at 8:00am on 21 October in the north of Santa Cruz. A ransom of USD250,000 was paid for his release by his family. The police found USD149,300 of the ransom money on two of the arrested suspects.

Brazil

9 October Criminals forced their way into the residence of a bank manager in Vila Valquiere and held the manager, his wife and two teenage daughters at gunpoint through the night. In the morning, the criminals forced the bank manager to go to the Banco Bradesco Candido in Madureira alone while they monitored his movements by cellphone. They told him to withdraw BRL400,000 (USD182,000). However, the police were aware of the incident and thwarted the criminals attempt to try and rob the bank. The criminals fled when they became aware of the police presence.

Colombia

10 October Jorge Orlando Montoya Escobar, a trader, was kidnapped from his finca, Villa Claudia, in Morroa, Sucre, by armed men. His family received telephone calls from the kidnappers who demanded Col$ 850 million (USD44,800) for his release. The victim was released on 16 October in Uraba, Antioquia. The police said that criminals and not guerrillas were responsible for the incident. The police subsequently arrested a man in connection with the incident.

Panama

17 October During an interview with Blu Radio, ex-President Mireya Moscoso said that the incident outside her residence in San Francisco in which two Colombians attacked ex-Minister Arnulfo Escalona was a kidnapping attempt. She added that she believed there were other people involved. The security services are investigating the incident.

Paraguay

22 October The Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) released a video showing two hostages – Edelio Moringio, a police officer, and Arlan Flick (17). The video, in which Moringio says the date is 18 October and quotes the murder of journalist Pablo Medina on 16 October, is the first “proof of life” for both of the hostages since they were kidnapped. Arlan Flick was kidnapped on 17 February and his family have already paid the ransom demanded. In the video, the EPP demand the release of six imprisoned rebels in exchange for the police officer. The demand was rejected by the Interior Minister.

Venezuela

7 October According to a police report, three gangs have been responsible for kidnapping in el Distrito Capital and Miranda State since the beginning of 2014. The most active gang is called “Los Expreseros”. The other two gangs are known to operate in the east of Caracas and Barlovento.

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