GENERAL


3 September British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that he would urge the other members of the Group of Eight (G8) major economies to stick to an agreement reached at the 2013 G8 summit not to pay hostage ransoms. Signatories to the agreement included Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. He said “Britain continues with this policy, America continues with this policy but we need to redouble the efforts to make sure that other countries are good to their word”. US and European officials have said that France, Spain and Italy have tolerated or facilitated ransom payments for citizens held in Syria.

7 September Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has been keeping records of the number of journalists who have been kidnapped and killed in trouble spots around the world. Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, he says more than 80 journalists have been kidnapped. At the end of 2013, 30 were listed as “missing” and today 20 are still “missing”. Some have been released after ransom payments, others have escaped and four have been killed. The statistics for Iraq between 2004-09 show 57 kidnappings of journalists seven of whom were Americans, 19 Europeans, 23 Iraqis (mainly working for overseas agencies) and eight from other countries. The number murdered in captivity is 17. In addition journalists have been kidnapped in Afghanistan and Somalia.

10 September There was fierce debate at a discussion attended by 200 people at the Columbia Journalism School over how to react when a reporter is kidnapped. The lack of agreement was evident. Earlier in the week, Joel Simon, head of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CJR), had argued in CJR that it was time to end the standard practice of instituting media blackouts during the kidnapping of a journalist. He wrote: “The best course of action would be for media organisations routinely to report the news of a journalist’s kidnapping in a straightforward unemotional way omitting, for example, demands from the kidnappers and indicating in clear language when they are withholding certain information at the request of family members or editors. Of course, it would be a simple matter for the kidnappers to record their demands on a hostage video and post it online, and those who are interested in the information will find it. But if the mainstream media does not actively report on it, it is less likely to generate the kind of public pressure and visibility that complicate hostage negotiations”.

AFRICA

Algeria

22 September In a video posted on social media, a group calling itself Jund al Khalilah (Soldiers of the Caliphate), a splinter group from al Qaeda’s North African branch, a spokesman said they had kidnapped a Frenchman, named as Herve Gourdel (55), a mountain guide, and threatened to kill him unless President Hollande halted the airstrikes against ISIS within 24 hours. On 24 September the group reported that it had killed the hostage in retribution for French warplanes attacking Islamic State targets in Iraq.

Cameroon

22 September The newspaper Mutations reported that rebels from the Central African Republic (CAR) had kidnapped nine Cameroonian nationals to put pressure on the Cameroon government to release their leader, Abdoulaye Miskine, and ten others. Miskine leads a breakaway faction of the Muslim rebel movement Seleka that is fighting the Christian anti-Balaka militia groups in the CAR. He was captured in Cameroon in 2013. The nine were kidnapped from Garoua-Boulai near the Cameroon border with the CAR. The group have threatened further attacks if Miskine is not released in 72 hours.

Egypt

23 September Wadi Ramsis, a Coptic doctor, who was kidnapped in Sinai two months ago was released after “payment of large sums of money”. Kidnapping of Copts – especially professionals who can afford to pay, or children, whose parents become desperate to pay – is becoming endemic to Egypt. In April, Isaac Eli, a Copt, was kidnapped. A relative later received a telephone call with a demand of 500,000 Egyptian pounds (USD75,000) for his release. In late March, Shenouda Riad Musa, a Coptic Christian, was kidnapped and his family received a telephone call from the kidnappers with a ransom demand of 1 million Egyptian pounds (USD150,000).

Libya

10 September Bushafa Al Amari, a Gumhouriya Bank Manager, was kidnapped in Benghazi resulting in the closure of banks in the city. Employees of the bank protested in front of its main branch. Employees said bank branches in the east of the country would remain closed until the victim is freed. It is understood the kidnappers have contacted the victim’s family with a ransom demand of LYD10 million (USD7,750,000).

10 September An army commander said that 25 soldiers had been kidnapped by Islamist militants from checkpoints in Benghazi where the Islamists have been trying to capture the city’s civilian and military airport. The Islamist fighters belong to a group called Majlis al Shoura that is an alliance including Ansar al Shuria.

25 September The Ministry of Health reported that an Ukrainian doctor and his wife were kidnapped in Benghazi. Benghazi is a stronghold of Islamist groups including Ansar al Shuria and there have been many murders and kidnappings of foreigners, particularly Westerners.

Mozambique

18 September 22 year old Delfina Augustine was recently arrested by the police in Maputo for her alleged involvement in recent kidnapping threats. It is alleged that she and her husband, who is serving a sentence in the Maputo top security prison, contacted entrepreneurs and other leading figures and threatened to kidnap them unless they paid protection money. She has denied being the owner of the mobile telephone used to contact the targets saying it belongs to her husband.

Nigeria

3 September Gunmen, who arrived around 11:00pm in two speedboats at the Niger Development Commission in Abua/Odua Local Government Area of Rivers State, kidnapped seven health workers – four doctors, a pharmacist, a dentist and a nurse. The health workers were in Okolomade community for the NDDC Free Medical Outreach Programme. At the time of the report, the kidnappers had not contacted with a ransom demand.

9 September Gunmen kidnapped a Chinese national from his residence in Kogi State. The incident occurred in the early hours of the morning when armed men stormed the residential quarters of Kogi State Water Corporation according to a police spokesman. The victim is a consultant to a government water project.

11 September The outgoing Police Commissioner of Rivers State said that between February and September, 46 kidnapping victims have been rescued. He added that kidnapping in the state had reduced by 25% in the past three months from 31 cases to 23 cases.

11 September Mukhtar Bashir, Deputy Manager of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), was kidnapped from his residence in Kawo, Kaduna State. He was returning home with his children when armed men in two vehicles ambushed him at the entrance and took him away in his official car. The kidnappers later contacted the family and demanded N6 million (USD37,000) for his release.

21 September According to a report in the British newspaper, Sunday People, Naomi Idele (7), a British schoolgirl, was held captive in the jungle by kidnappers for five days while on a family holiday to the country. She was forced to watch while her mother, Mary (38), and grandmother, Eunice (79), were brutally beaten and threatened with death. The party was kidnapped in broad daylight on 5 August by a 15 strong armed group while approaching Benin City in a taxi after arriving at Lagos airport. The family run a care home in Birmingham, UK. They were only released after Naomi’s father paid the group £6,500 (USD10,700) from the UK.

26 September The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) reported that one worker was killed and three others kidnapped in Port Harcourt and Warri during the previous five days. A member working for Halliburton Oil Services was killed in his residence in Port Harcourt on Monday, two staff of Agip were kidnapped in Port Harcourt while a worker with Chevron Nigeria Limited was kidnapped in Warri between Saturday and Sunday. The kidnap victims had been abducted while leaving their offices.

27 September Evaristus Amakor Onyenso (78) was kidnapped by a gang of 10 armed men from his home in Aboh Mbaise Council area, Imo State, at around 8:00pm. The gang broke into the compound and house, tied up all the family members and robbed them of valuables before taking away their victim.

30 September Mr. Ibekwe, Personal Assistant to Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi on Student Matters, was kidnapped over the weekend by gunmen. There has been no official reaction by the Rivers State Government. It is understood the kidnappers have yet to contact the victim’s family or demand a ransom.

Somalia

23 September a Somali official said that Michael Scott Moore, a journalist with joint German and American citizenship, was released after being held captive by Somali pirates for 977 days. He was kidnapped by 15 gunmen in January 2012. The governor of Mudug region said local elders negotiated the hostage’s release. The kidnappers originally demanded a ransom of USD8 million but later reduced it to USD3 million. One of the pirate commanders in Hobyo, Bile Hussein, who were holding the victim said that a USD1.6 million ransom was paid. A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry told AP that the German government would not be blackmailed and did not confirm the ransom claims.

Your Comments (6 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