Kidnap, Ransom & Extortion Events

Kidnapped Chinese man saved, AP among 4 suspects killed - This article on the kidnap of a foreign national in Nairobi Kenya, involving a police officer among the perpetrators, highlights the high risk in Nairobi. It is advised that if a suspicious demand is made by persons claiming to be security officers that the embassy be contacted for support. “Police officers on Saturday rescued an abducted Chinese man from a house at Sun Track Estate in Dagoretti, Nairobi County….. the victim was being held under an armed four-men-guard, who had demanded a $1million (Sh100 million) ransom from his brother to secure his release… the four included an Administration Police Officer.” From Daily Nation

2 Canadian women kidnapped at gunpoint in Ghana - This article provides an example of the need for aid workers to be vigilant regarding their security and surroundings while operating in developing countries.  “Two Canadian women, ages 19 and 20, who were volunteering for a charity in Ghana, were kidnapped at gunpoint Tuesday evening outside their apartment, according to reports. The two women - students at Kumasi Technical University - were outside their apartment in the Ahodwo district in the country’s second largest city of Kumasi around 8 p.m. when the gunmen grabbed them and bundled into a car. Police told the BBC that the two women, who have not been identified, were volunteers with Youth Challenge International, a Toronto-based international development organization.” From Fox News 

Threats like DHL extortion plot in Potsdam more common than you think – This article outlines how most extortions are not made public. An experienced crisis response firm associated with a Kidnap, Ransom & Extortion policy can be key in guiding an organization through the response process of an extortion demand, assisting with the best response to the extortion demands to resolve the incident and prevent further such events, liaising with governmental authorities, and assisting with the communications to the public if necessary.  “The commotion surrounding a suspicious package at a Potsdam Christmas market is how Germans found out about an extortion case at shipping giant DHL. Usually, companies keep such threats secret – for good reason. A great deal about the suspicious package planted in Potsdam last week was unusual, but not the fact that it was part of an extortion attempt against a large company. Between 7,500 and 8,000 blackmail cases are reported in Germany every year, says Frank Roselieb of the Institute for Crisis Research at the German University of Kiel. Based on its analysis of crime statistics, the institute concludes that there are on average 150 blackmail threats each week.” From Deutsche Welle 

Suspected militiamen kidnap 5 workers at Banro's east Congo mine – “Suspected militiamen have kidnapped five workers at Banro Corp's Namoya gold mine in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the company said on Thursday, in the second attack on its facilities in a month… The hostages included a French national, a Tanzanian and three Congolese, he said. New York and Toronto-listed Banro's four gold mines in eastern Congo have been plagued both by illegal miners squatting on site and by armed groups.” From Reuters

Report: SF Transit Hacker Demands $73K - Reflects growing risk from ransomware and importance of in house employee security in preventing incidents - “A city-wide hack of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) meant free rides for all on Saturday…Some payment systems and station agency computers were restored by Sunday, according to the Examiner, which tipped a 100 Bitcoin ($73,000) ransom in exchange for regaining access to the systems.” From PC Magazine

When Ransomware Hits Business - Paying Up Unlikely to Guarantee Resolution: Highlights complexity of appropriate response to ransomware event - “A new survey into the prevalence and effect of ransomware confirms many other surveys -- around half of all companies have now been affected within the last 12 months. Now, however, there is increasing evidence that paying the ransom is not the end of the matter: 86% of companies that paid up reported that the extortionist attempted to extract a second ransom; and 81% said they had been attacked at least three times.” From Security Week

US aid worker kidnapped in Niger – Outlines high risk of area within close driving distance of Mali and need to maintain security precautions – “Armed assailants abducted a US aid worker from his home Friday night in the West African nation of Niger, killing a police officer and a guard before fleeing west toward neighboring Mali, Niger's interior ministry said. Witnesses in Abalak described the abductors forcing the aid worker to strip down to his undergarments before putting him in their four-wheel drive vehicle, a government source told CNN on condition of anonymity." From CNN

‘We have your daughter’: A virtual kidnapping and a mother’s five hours of hell – Highlights increasing virtual kidnap threats in US – “Wendy Mueller was standing at the copper sink in her gorgeous, historic Leesburg, Va., home last Wednesday afternoon when the knife she was holding slipped and cut her thumb.  Then the phone rang… Mom always answers the phone. She heard screaming. It sounded like her 23-year-old daughter’s voice, begging for help. Then an unfamiliar voice announced, “We have your daughter.”  What followed next was five hours of hell. Police call it a virtual kidnapping — an old scam that is having a renaissance across the country and particularly in the Washington region. The callers target affluent areas and find enough information online to make their ruse plausible.” From The Washington Post

Gunmen kidnap seven, including Australians, in Nigeria – Highlights risk to foreigners while engaging in travel via the road in the Niger Delta region – “Gunmen in southern Nigeria have killed a local driver and kidnapped as many as seven people, at least three of whom are Australian citizens and one an Australian resident, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday. The workers, two of whom police said later escaped, were contractors for cement company Lafarge Africa. They were attacked on the outskirts of the city of Calabar at around 05:30 a.m., police said…. Kidnappings of foreigners are common in the Delta region, which holds most of the crude oil whose sales make about 70 percent of Nigeria's national income.” From Reuters

Americans missing in Baghdad kidnapped by Iran-backed militia - Highlights security risks for Americans in region. “Three U.S. citizens who disappeared last week in Baghdad were kidnapped and are being held by an Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia, two Iraqi intelligence and two U.S. government sources said on Tuesday… "They were abducted because they are Americans, not for personal or financial reasons," one of the Iraqi sources in Baghdad said. The three men are employed by a small company that is doing work for General Dynamics Corp (GD.N), under a larger contract with the U.S. Army, according to a source familiar with the matter.” From Reuters

Burkina Faso: Elderly Australian doctor and wife kidnapped by jihadists near border with Mali during al-Qaeda attack  - Highlights dangers of travel and operations in regions bordering Mali.  “The man and woman, who The Independent has chosen not to name, had lived in the town of Djibo near the Malian border for decades working at a hospital. They were abducted from their home in the early hours of Saturday morning, as al-Qaeda militants held 150 hostages more than 100 miles away in the capital, Ouagadougou.” From The Independent

Armed men kidnap Swiss female missionary in Mali  - Highlights need to avoid travel to Mali where possible. “Armed men kidnapped a Swiss missionary from her home in Timbuktu on Friday… Four vehicles were used in the kidnap, said a military source in Timbuktu who declined to be identified. "One vehicle parked in front of the house and armed men got out and abducted the woman, while the other three cars secured the area from a distance," said the source.” From Christian Today

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