As business continues to expand globally, there has also been an increase in kidnappings globally. Kidnappings can be short term or long term, and occur for a variety of reasons - socio, criminal or political, etc. This page gives a general overview of kidnap and security related issues from across the World. If you have any concerns for your employees safety and security abroad, please get in touch - we can help!
5 March The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) reported that there were a total of five incidents of armed robbery against ships, three actual and two attempted, in February 2018. In January 2018, there were eight reported incidents. Of the five incidents in February, four occurred on board vessels at anchor – in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam – and one incident while the vessel was underway off Basilan, the Philippines. ReCAAP said it was concerned about the attempted incident on 16 February to kidnap crew members on the container ship, Kudos 1, when it was underway approximately 4.4nm southeast of Sibago Island, Basilan.
20 March A report stated that pirates had been sighted in Ghana’s territorial waters and warned against the increase in attacks against ships in the Gulf of Guinea. The Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) sent out an e-mail on 8 March 2018 that stated: “At 17:00UTC a merchant vessel was approached by three speedboats off Takoradi, Ghana. The occupants of the speedboats were wearing camouflage clothing and carrying weapons”. The MDAT-GoG subsequently advised vessels transiting the country’s coast to exercise extreme caution to avoid attacks from pirates. The International Bureau on Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships suggested that there were 11 separate pirate attacks between 2013 and 2017 off Ghana’s coast.
28 March It was reported that two Canadian ships, HMCS Kingston and HMCS Summerside, had docked in Lagos earlier in the month to train with the Nigerian Navy before deploying on operations in the Gulf of Guinea. This was the first visit by Canadian Naval ships since 1960 when Nigeria gained independence from Britain. The Canadians trained for three days with the Nigerian Navy before joining 30 other countries in the Gulf of Guinea on an eight day exercise named “Obangame Express” spearheaded by US Naval Forces Europe-Africa.
10 March Jocelyn Elliott, who was kidnapped along with her husband, Ken Elliott, an Australian surgeon, by al Qaeda linked militants in 2016, made rare public call for help in a Facebook video. The couple are both in their 80s and she was released but her husband is still being held. She said in the video: “My husband is now very old. I know he does not have much longer to live on this earth”. The last Proof of Life (PoL) video of her husband was issued almost a year ago.
10 March The Ambazonia Defence Forces released a video on social media that showed Animnom Aron, Regional Delegate of Social affairs for the North West Region, calling on the Minister of Social Affairs to help obtain the release of Ambazonia leaders who have been arrested. He added that he had been given 48 hours before he would be “sacrificed”, He was kidnapped on 25 February in Batibo when he was returning from a funeral in the village.
18 March The Tunisian government said that two Tunisians working on a road construction project for a Tunisian company had been kidnapped by an armed group. No group had claimed responsibility for the incident but one of the main separatist forces operating in the area is the Ambazonia Defence Force. A government spokesman said that a Tunisian engineer, Khaled Tinsa, had been killed by his kidnappers but another Tunisian and two Cameroonian technicians had been rescued during an operation by the security forces. The four men were employed by the Tunisian road construction company, Soroubat, and were working on the construction of a road between Kumba and Isangale in the southwest of the country.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
7 March Sources reported that eighteen employees, nine administrators and nine security guards, were kidnapped from a gorilla sanctuary in the area of Nzovu, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, on 5 March. The administrators were carrying out an inventory check. An official said an armed group called the Mai-Mai Raia Mutomboki was responsible. According to sources within local civil society groups, the kidnappers had demanded a large ransom.
26 March A Ghanaian tuna fishing vessel, Marine 711, was attacked by alleged Nigerian pirates on the Keta high seas. Nine pirates in a speedboat approached and boarded the fishing vessel. They held it for 12 hours, sailed into Togo waters before abandoning it. Five members of the crew, three Koreans, the captain, mate and an engineer, a Greek and a Ghanaian, were kidnapped. The vessel sent out distress signals which were received by the Ghana Navy. The abandoned vessel with the remaining crew was rescued by the Ghana Navy and taken to port at Tema. A South Korean warship that was operating in the Gulf of Aden was dispatched to the Gulf of Guinea.
3 March The Chief of the Ubari Security Directorate said that an unknown armed group had kidnapped a Pakistani engineer working in an oil field near Ubari, about 900kms south of Tripoli. Armed militants outnumber the army and police in the area. The official added that the kidnapping is not the first and will not be the last.
1 March Jama’a Nusrat ul Islam wa Muslimin (JNIM), an al Qaeda affiliate, released a video of Sophie Petronin (72), a French charity worker who worked with malnourished and orphan children in Gao for 15 years before being kidnapped in late 2016. In a brief video, the victim is shown lying on a cot inside a tent surrounded by boxes of medication while an audio tape of French President Macron saying “I will protect you” plays on a loop. The video is not dated. The victim’s nephew said his aunt’s health seemed to have deteriorated since images were released of her last summer and accused the French government of abandoning the family. Hours after the release of the video, gunmen attacked the army’s headquarters and the French Embassy in the capital of Burkina Faso.
22 March The Police of the Republic of Mozambique reported that six suspects connected with the kidnapping of a Chinese national in the Boane district of Maputo province had been arrested. The victim, manager of a block production plant in Boane, was kidnapped on 9 February and held for at least five days. She was released after a ransom was paid by her family.
1 March Mabaruka, junior wife of Alhaji Abubakar Suleiman Tunas, the member for Ingawa Constituency in the Katsina State House of assembly, was kidnapped from his residence at Ingawa Local Government Area by unidentified armed men during the night. The Senator was not at home when the kidnapping occurred. He was contacted by the kidnappers who demanded a ransom of N100 million (USD277,800).
3 March The Imo State Police Command disclosed that, during January and February this year, it had arrested 61 kidnapping suspects and rescued eight victims including four children.
3 March Malam Nasir Birnin-Yaro, a reporter with Voice of America, said his wife and child had been released by their kidnappers at 9:00pm on 2 March at Sabon Birni village near Kaduna International airport. The two victims were kidnapped by gunmen on 28 February after the kidnappers arrived at the family home looking to kidnap the reporter but took his wife and child instead when they could not find him. They demanded a ransom of N12 million (USD33,300) but Malam negotiated the amount down to N2 million (USD5,500) which he paid and the victims were released.
3 March Alhaji Uba Muhammad Shiye, Secretary of Kano State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), was kidnapped by gunmen from his house at Shiye, Bunkure Local Government Area, Kano State. The kidnappers contacted his family and demanded a ransom of N20 million (USD55,500).
5 March The Niger State Police Command announced the arrest of five suspected kidnappers at Manigi Market, Mashegu, and Bangi, Mariga Local Government Area, Niger State. The suspects are alleged to have kidnapped two men and collected N21.6 million (USD60,000) for their release. The arrests were made after the police received distress messages that bandits were troubling traders.
12 March Pastor Mfon Akpan Udoneke, the Area Superintendent of Apostolic Church, Ikot Akpa Idem village, Ukanafun Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, and Deacon Alexander Tom Umoh, also a resident of the same village, were kidnapped by gunmen, suspected to be cultists, in two separate incidents between 5:00am and 6:00am. The two victims were kidnapped from their residences which are approximately 2kms apart.
14 March The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) stated in its “Nigeria’s Maritime Industry Forecast 2018-2019” that there were 41 recorded piracy attacks on vessels calling at Nigerian ports during 2017. The highest number occurred during the last quarter of 2017 with 16 reported attacks. The breakdown by quarters was: 1st quarter – nine reported attacks with three successful and six unsuccessful; 2nd quarter – eight vessels attacked with four successful and four unsuccessful; 3rd quarter – eight vessels attacked with four successful and four unsuccessful; 4th quarter – 16 vessels attacked with six successful and ten unsuccessful.
16 March Hajiya Diya (82), mother of Nagogo Nagarhi, a Katsina oil business tycoon and owner of Shema Petroleum Limited, was kidnapped when five men forced entry to her home in Bayan village, Dutsin-ma Local Government Area, Katsina State, at around 1:30am and took her away in a stolen vehicle. A neighbour who tried to prevent the kidnapping was shot twice in the stomach. On 17 March, sources said that the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of N200 million (USD555,600) for the victim’s release during a telephone call. On 23 March, a spokesman for the Katsina police confirmed that the victim had been released and the police were carrying out investigations to arrest the kidnappers.
18 March An aged woman whose name had not been disclosed but is believed to be the mother of the Chief Executive Officer of a large communications company, was kidnapped when she was going to church at Nsukwe Ubakala, Umuahia, Abia State. The kidnappers were waiting for her to arrive at the church.
18 March Mode Senchi, Chief Imam of Senchi, Danko/Wasaga Local Government Area, Kebbi State, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen. The victim was rescued on 28 March. He had previously been kidnapped in 2017 and released after the payment of a N13 million (USD36,100) ransom. The Kebbi State Commissioner of Police said that no ransom had been paid on this occasion and his men were working towards arresting the culprits.
21 March Alhaji Lal Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said that most of the 110 schoolgirls who were kidnapped on 19 February from their boarding school in Dapchi, Yobe State, in the northeast of the country, had been returned by their Boko Haram militant kidnappers. He added that no ransom was paid and the release “came with no conditions” as the victims had been freed following “back channel efforts” by the government. On 20 March, Amnesty International said that the Nigerian security forces had been warned about the presence of Boko Haram fighters near Dapchi but failed to respond and alleged the army and police had received at least five telephone calls up to four hours before the attack informing them that Boko Haram were on their way but failed to take effective measures. A parent of one of the returned girls said that Boko Haram had brought the girls back in nine trucks and dropped them outside the school and left without talking to anyone He added that there were no security personnel accompanying the convoy of vehicles. On 23 March, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, former Delta State governorship candidate, claimed the release of the schoolgirls was a “scam” by the government in an attempt to hoodwink citizens. He claimed that the Federal Government had paid a ransom and Boko Haram would use the money to buy arms and kidnap more people. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the previous release of some of the Chibok schoolgirls had resulted in the Shekau faction of Boko Haram being paid about USD3.7 million in ransoms.
24 March Sushil Kumar (37), a ship’s captain, called his brother in India saying that pirates had demanded a ransom of N11 million (USD30,500) for the release of himself and two other Indian crew members who had been held hostage for 10-15 days. He had previously contacted his family on 12 March and informed them about the kidnapping.
24 March Kidnappers dressed in women’s clothing stormed the residence in Malumfashi Local Government Area, Katsina State, of Hajiya Aisha Innatu, mother of Alhaji Gambo Ahmad Mahuta, an Executive Director of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA at around 10:00pm. The kidnapped her and her elder daughter, Hajiya Dudua, who was looking after their sick mother. The kidnappers later released the sick mother but kept Hajiya Dudua and demanded a ransom of N300 million (USD833,300) for her release.
31 March Governor Abdulaziz of Zamfara State gave orders to security force members to instantly kill any kidnapper they capture, anyone found harbouring a kidnapper and anyone caught with rifles. He said: “Security operatives should not waste time bringing these criminals to judges”.
31 March A bride and ten of her relatives and friends were kidnapped by gunmen who stopped their bus as they travelled by bus from the wedding ceremony to the house of her new husband in Birnin Gwari Town, Kaduna State, shortly after 8:00pm. Three of the victims managed to escape and returned to town the following morning. Birnin Gari has witnessed recently a number of attacks by armed bandits including the killing of eleven soldiers at a checkpoint in the town two weeks ago.
10 March Shiraaz Gattoo, owner of Daveland Cash and Carry, was presumed kidnap after his vehicle was found idling on the side of a highway during the evening and there was no sign of him. The police opened a kidnapping case and carried out a helicopter search of the area but refused to disclose any information saying it was “sensitive”. According to reports, the victim was pulled from his vehicle and forced into another one. Anti-crime activist, Yusuf Abramjee, confirmed that the kidnapping had taken place and added that a month ago a Durban businessman who is from Mozambique and owns a hotel, had also been kidnapped and was still missing. During the past year, about 15 cases of kidnapping have been reported.
22 March Charity Genius Kyohairwe (33) was kidnapped after she left home to go to church near Mulago Hospital, Kampala. The kidnappers called her family and demanded a ransom of Sh5 million (USD1,370). The victim’s mother said she could hear the cries of her daughter in the background during the telephone call. The family managed to collect Sh4.5 million (USD1,230) but, on the advice of the police who claimed they were closing in on the kidnappers, they sent Sh2.5 million (USD680) to a telephone number the kidnappers had supplied which was in the name of Kasifa Nyakaisiki. The family called the kidnappers to confirm the money had been received which they did. They then told the family not to send the balance but, as the family had decided to work with the police, they could collect their daughter’s body from the Mulago mortuary. They found the body the following day at the mortuary after it had been found dumped in a banana plantation. The body bore signs of rape and torture. The victim’s ex-husband was arrested in order to assist the police with their enquiries.
27 March According to Police Flying Squad records, between 2015 and 2018 a total of 48 people of different age and gender were reported kidnapped. Of these, 26 were found by the police, eight were killed and 11 are still unaccounted for. In almost all cases, a ransom was demanded and paid. During the last three months, of the nine people who were reported kidnapped, one is still missing. In 2017, 22 people were reported kidnapped and eight are still missing. In 2016, seven people were reported kidnapped and one is still missing and in 2015 out of the ten people kidnapped, one is missing. Of the 48 people kidnapped, eight cases were of “self-kidnap”.
AMERICA – NORTH
3 March La Fiscalia del Estado de Chihuahua reported that five suspects had been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Thania Denisse Medina Rodriguez (33), a lawyer, as she left her office in the centre of Chihuahua at around 6:00pm on 28 February. Three armed men dragged her into their vehicle and drove away. The kidnappers demanded a ransom in bitcoins (the most popular cryptocurrency in the world) and the victim’s family transferred an undisclosed sum to obtain her release. The kidnappers, including German Loera (23), who used Youtube to post motivational videos, were arrested a few hours later after an operation by cybercrime police. The ransom money was recovered.
18 March Miguel Angel Yunes Linares, el gobernador de Veracruz, said that there had been a reduction of 66% in the number of reported kidnappings during the first ten weeks of 2018 when compared to the same period in 2017.
20 March Information released by la Direccion de Communicacion Social de la Fiscalia General del Estado de Durango (FGED) said that, during the first three months of 2018, there had been no reported incidents of kidnapping in the state and that included in Gomez Palacio that had recorded the highest number of kidnapping incidents in the past.
20 March After receiving a tip off that kidnapping victims were being held in a safe house at Puerta de Sol, Nayarit State, police mounted a rescue operation at around 8:45pm. As the police approached the house, they were shot at and a police commander was hit in the head and killed. Another policeman was wounded during the shooting in which three cartel gunmen were killed. Nine kidnapping victims were rescued.
29 March El Observatorio Ciudadano de Tampico, Madero y Altamira reported that there had been no recorded incidents of kidnapping during January 2018 and a 23% decrease in the reported incidents during December 2017 – from 13 to 10 reported incidents. Information released by el Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica stated that between January 2017 and January 2018 19 incidents of kidnapping had been recorded.
AMERICA – CENTRAL
30 March El Comando Antisecuestros de la Policia Nacional Civil y el Ministro Publico mounted an operation in San Pedro Scatepequez, San Marcos, close to the border with Mexico, during which two female kidnapping victims, Julissa Selena Perez Chavez (22) and Viana Esterfania Zunun Gonzalez (18), were rescued and four suspects, two Guatemalans and two Mexicans, arrested. The two victims were kidnapped on 26 March in San Marcos City and the kidnappers demanded a ransom of USD25,000 for their safe release. The police investigated the case and located the place where they were being held before mounting the rescue operation.
9 March A 3 year old boy was kidnapped from the arms of his nanny who was bringing him home from school, by two hooded and armed men in Chinandega. The victim was taken to the home of a relative of one of the kidnappers. The police rescued the victim after a few hours and arrested the two kidnappers as they tried to escape. The motive was to obtain a ransom payment.
AMERICA – SOUTH
1 March Alexandre Geraldo dos Anjos (34), an evangelical pastor of the Assembly of God Mission at Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, walked into Igarata police station and confessed he had simulated his own kidnapping. He had last been seen in Vista Verde, Sao Jose dos Campos, on 26 February. He had sent a ransom demand of 3 bitcoins (USD19,750) to his family but they had not paid. He admitted he had debts.
1 March The manager of the Sicoob Credioeste Bank and seven of her family members were taken hostage at Paineiras, Minas Gerais. The criminals also placed explosives in the bank and demanded that the manager take money from the Paineiras and Biquinhas agencies and give it to them. It was not known if any money was paid to the criminals but the victims were released in Confin during the night of 2 March. No arrests had been made.
1 March The Financial Director of Banco do Nordeste de Caruaru was kidnapped by six armed men as he returned to his home in Caruaru, in the Agreste of Pernambuco. The gunmen also held his family hostage overnight before ordering the Financial Director to go to work and take money from the bank’s safe. While his family were kept hostage by the kidnappers, he went to work, opened the safe, and stocked one of the bank’s self-service bins in accordance with his routine, before filling the other box. He took the money and left the bank. He handed the money over to the criminals who released his family before fleeing. The bank did not disclose how much money was taken.
6 March An unnamed man was kidnapped in Samambaia, Federal District, and was rescued by the police on 13 March at Porto Esperidiao, Mato Grosso, almost 1,500kms from where he was kidnapped. The police arrested three suspects and seized Reias 100,000 (USD31,000), believed to be the ransom payment.
21 March A businessman who sold farm machinery, was rescued by police at Vespasiano, Belo Horizonte, after being kidnapped three days earlier at Contagem, Belo Horizonte. The businessman who lives in Itapeceria, 180kms from Belo Horizonte, had travelled to the city after being contacted by a man who said he was interested in buying some machinery. On arrival at the meeting, he was kidnapped at gunpoint and taken to a safe house. He was kept tied up and a guard was with him all the time. A ransom of $200,000 (USD61,900) was demanded for his release. Residents in the area reported strange movement in the safe house to the police who searched the area and found the victim. Four suspects were arrested.
1 March Al Gaula de la Policia Nacional reported it was investigating a report that Zenaida Maria Riano Lemus (42), a businesswoman, had been kidnapped on the night of 27 February at Ocana, Norte de Santander. The victim is said to have been kidnapped while walking near Riano Pharmacy that she owns. She was forced aboard a vehicle by armed men. Both common criminals and the ELN are known to carry out kidnapping in the region but there had been no indication which group was responsible. In 2014, Dario Riano, her brother, was also kidnapped. According to la Fundacion Progresar that records kidnapping incidents, there were 44 reported cases of kidnapping in Norte de Santander in 2017, almost double the number in 2016.
8 March It was announced that the police had arrested 119 people suspected of being involved in kidnapping and extortion in 24 of the 32 departments in the country. More than 500 agents and 53 attorneys participated in the operations. Well known criminal groups such as La Empresa, Los Paramilitares, Los Mojana and Clan del Golfo were targeted. The authorities claimed that, to date in 2018, there has been a reduction of 33% in the number of kidnappings and 28% in the number of extortion incidents.
28 March Jose Leonardo Ataya Rodriguez, el gerente de la Empresa Municipal de Servicios Publicas de Arauca (Emserpa), was kidnapped by two men as he was travelling with his driver to buy fish in Barrancones, Arauca. The kidnappers forced him into a canoe and took him across the border to Venezuela.
27 March The authorities announced that a journalist, a photographer and their driver had been kidnapped from near Mataje in Esmeraldas province near the Colombian border the previous day. The three victims were working for the local El Comercio newspaper. The security situation in the area had deteriorated over the previous three months with several attacks against the security forces by armed groups belonging to criminals and drug traffickers. After three soldiers were killed during a clash on 20 March, there was a meeting at Tulcan between officials from Colombia and Ecuador to discuss improving cooperation. Military intelligence claimed the attacks were carried out by criminal gangs formed by former Colombian guerrillas who have military training and engage in international drug trafficking.
On 28 March, a high ranking officer from the Colombian Armed Forces said it was believed the group responsible for the kidnapping was headed by Walter Artizala, alias “Gaucho”, who was a guerrilla for 15 years. The group comprises former members of Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia (FARC) who oppose the peace process and are now involved in drug trafficking.
On 31 March, the families of the victims agreed to the release of their names as they believed this would increase their visibility and reduce their vulnerability. The victims were named as: Paul Rivas Bravo (45), a photographer, Javier Ortega Reyes (32), a journalist, and Efrain Segarra Sabril (60), the driver.
1 March The police confirmed that the bodies of Alecio Dresch (73), a Brazilian citizen, and his 12 year old grandson, Leonardo Farias, who were kidnapped on 23 October 2017, had been found after a tip off by one of the arrested suspects. The bodies were in a pit in the area of Nuevo Toledo, Caaguazu, where they were kidnapped. After the kidnapping, the authorities were informed that a ransom demand of USD300,000 was sent to the telephone of a relative of the victims.
20 March Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said that the DNA of 38 Indian workers matched with the bodies found in a mass grave. Since the kidnapping in Mosul in 2014, the Indian government had always maintained that the workers were alive. She added that it is highly likely that the body of a 39th worker has also been found but the DNA is only a 70% match.
9 March Zafar Iqbal (40), a Manikganj businessman, and his friend, Miraz Gazi (35), were kidnapped in Dhaka by a gang lead by an Awami League leader, Selim Mollah, and his son, Rajibul Islam. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of Tk4.5 million (USD54,900). A ransom of Tk285,000 (USD3,475) was paid but the victims were not released. During the night of 11 March, a team from the Rapid Reaction Battalion (RAB-2) rescued the victims from a house in Manikganj district and arrested ten suspects. They also recovered the Tk285,000 ransom.
6 March Bhubaneswar police arrested five youths, including three students, for allegedly kidnapping a 17 year old from Chandrasekharpur on 26 February. The leader of the gang’s girlfriend set up a Facebook account that was used to entrap victims. The girlfriend arranged to meet the victim who was then kidnapped. The kidnappers contacted his family and demanded a ransom of Rs.12 lakh (USD25,150). The demand was later reduced to Rs2 lakh (USD3,100) which the family paid and the victim was released on 28 February. The victim had been kept sedated during his captivity. The gang leader admitted he had lost Rs4 lakh (USD6,200) betting on cricket and devised the scheme to get money to pay off the debt.
8 March Shekhar BV (44) who runs a rehabilitation centre for addicts in Mysore Road, Girinagar, was kidnapped at around 11;00pm while the victim was returning home from the clinic. Two young men brushed against his motorcycle so he stopped to admonish them. Two men got out of a car opposite, dragged him into it and drove away. The kidnappers kept him in the car and drove around for about six hours. They told the victim he would have to pay Rs50 lakh (USD77,200) to be released. Around 5:00am on 9 March, the car suffered a puncture and the victim managed to escape while the kidnappers were changing the tyre. He told the police he had recognised one of the kidnappers as being someone who had attended his clinic. The police followed up and arrested four of the six kidnappers.
12 March A 5 year old boy was kidnapped at around 2:00pm in Delhi. The following day, the kidnappers made two calls to the victim’s father and demanded a ransom of Rs20 lakh (USD30,900). The police traced the location from where the calls were made, arrested an engineering graduate and rescued the victim.
22 March Ayush Nautiyal, a final year student of Ram Lal Anand College, South Campus, Delhi University, was kidnapped. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family via WhatsApp and demanded a ransom of Rs50 lakh (USD77,200). The victim’s body was discovered in the West Delhi area of Palam on 28 March. The police investigation established that the victim had met a man called Ishtiaq Ali at a restaurant the day before he was kidnapped. They arrested Ishtiaq and an accomplice and were investigating whether the victim had been lured by Ishtiaq by posing as a girl on a dating website. The victim was killed on the day of the kidnapping but the kidnappers still continued to demand a ransom.
26 March It was reported that there had been 15 cases of kidnapping for ransom recorded in Bihar State during the first two months of the year – eight in January and seven in February. The figure is the highest after 11 kidnapping for ransom cases were recorded in April 2015. For the whole of 2017, 42 cases were recorded in the state.
27 March S Ulaganathan (49), a realtor of Siyaganga district, Madurai, was kidnapped by men posing as policemen who stopped his car in Somasundaram Nagar, Kalayarkovil. His wife who was accompanying him, thought at first they were police as there was a policewoman in uniform with the group. When she was unable to trace her husband at any local police stations, she reported the kidnapping to the police. The kidnappers contacted her and demanded a ransom of Rs10 lakh (USD15,450). On instructions from the police, she handed over the ransom money at Pandikovil on the outskirts of Madurai. Her husband was then released. The police traced some of the gang through their mobile telephones and arrested five suspects, including the woman, and were looking for seven more.
18 March It was reported that three of five people working for a polio vaccination team had been released by their kidnappers. The whereabouts of the remaining two was not known. The kidnapping had taken place in Musakhel, Mohmand Agency.
13 March During a media briefing organised by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) in Sandakan, it was announced that three new kidnapping for ransom groups had been identified. No further details were provided in order to maintain the integrity of the authorities’ investigations and operations. It was also revealed that there were six new names among the 16 on the wanted list and that most of them were Filipinos. Of the others, one was named as Mohammed Amin Baco, a Malaysian, who is now the Islamic State militant chief in southern Philippines.
3 March Five illegal loggers were kidnapped while travelling on foot towards Sitio Upper Lukungan, Panabutan, Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte. The kidnappers telephoned the victims’ families and demanded a ransom of P10 million (USD197,600) an amount the families could not possibly pay. The demand was later reduced to P15,000 (USD300) per victim. The victims were all from poor families who were unlikely have access to that amount of money either. On 12 March, the military announced that four of the victims had been freed by the kidnappers after being relentlessly pursued by the army and police. It was also reported that the fifth victim had been killed on 7 March in the crossfire during a clash between the security forces and the kidnappers. It was believed that the kidnappers were led by Jamilon Wahab.
24 March Marjorie Abdul (58), principal of Liang Elementary School, Patikul, Sulu, was released after her family had negotiated a ransom payment. She had been kidnapped by alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on 22 March.
28 March Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader, Nhurhassan Jamiri, and 13 of his followers surrendered to the Joint Task Force Basilan according to the Defence Secretary. He said the militants had surrendered as a result of inter-agency collaboration involving the security forces and the strong support of local government units which facilitated negotiations. The group was involved in seajacking and kidnapping of Vietnamese vessels and sailors crossing the Basilan Strait and kidnap for ransom and extortion activities in Basilan province.
23 March A Moroccan born Islamic extremist gunmen took hostages in Super U supermarket in Trebes, 60 miles southeast of Toulouse, shouting “Allahu akbar” and claiming he was a “soldier of the Islamic State” as he entered the building. During the hostage taking, he demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the only remaining surviving assailant of the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead. Police officer, Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, offered himself in exchange for a female hostage and was subsequently shot dead by the hostage taker. A total of four hostages were killed and the gunman died when police stormed the supermarket.
Trinidad and Tobago
14 March Terrence Rampersad (52) and his wife, Lutchmin (52), were kidnapped as they drove up to the gate of their home at Orange Field Road, Carapichaima, after celebrating Lutchmin’s birthday. Terrence was opening the gate when three men got out of a vehicle and forced the couple into their vehicle. They drove along a highway before stopping and transferring the victims into another vehicle. Lutchmin was released at around 2;30am in Gran Couva and Terrence was taken to a shack at Santa Flora. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of TT$30,000 (USD4,500). At around 5:00am, Terrence managed to escape and made his way to a police station. The police said no ransom was paid.
REST OF THE WORLD
23 March A spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Department of Western Degunino, Moscow, announced that six suspects had been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a man in November 2017 in the Dmitrov District, Moscow. The victim was held for two days until he agreed to pay a ransom of 20 million roubles (USD350,000).
Information kindly provided by and reproduced with the permission of Griffin Underwriting Ltd.