Kidnapping threat worldwide – updated December 2014


December 21 , 2014

Threat

Terrorist groups often target foreigners. In some instances, terrorists have killed their victims when their demands were not met. Some are kidnapped for ideological or political reasons, leaving little or no room for negotiation. Foreigners overseas, particularly those working in the oil and mining industry, aid and humanitarian sectors, journalists and tourists are regularly targeted.

Kidnapping hotspots risk Map

Terrorists may use local merchants such as tour and transport operators to identify foreign visitors for potential kidnap operations. Hostages may be taken by their captors into a neighbouring country. For example, humanitarian workers and tourists in Kenya have been kidnapped by militants and held in Somalia.

Cultural festivals in remote locations are also attractive places for terrorists and criminals to identify and target tourists for kidnapping. These festivals bring people to predictable locations along unsecured routes, including in parts of Africa where the threat of kidnapping is highest.

Criminal groups often kidnap tourists who are forced to withdraw money from ATMs. This is known in some locations as “express kidnapping”. It is common in countries in Central and South America, especially Mexico and Colombia, but does occur in other countries. In some cases victims have been killed or injured while attempting to resist the kidnappers. Using ATMs located inside banks, hotels and shopping centres during daylight hours may reduce the risk.

Kidnapping

You should be aware that some criminals pose as unlicensed taxi drivers. Once the victim is in the cab they are held until they agree to withdraw money. Always use licenced taxi services.

An increasing number of foreigners have recently been kidnapped and held for ransom by criminals who operate sophisticated online financial scams which lure victims to locations in Africa, including Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa. You should treat with scepticism any online invitation you receive to travel to an unfamiliar location.

Another trend is “virtual kidnapping”. This is when extortionists, posing as law enforcement officials, call the family or friends of the victim and demand payment in return for release of the allegedly arrested family member or friend. You should avoid divulging financial, business or personal information to strangers.

kidnapping_02

Pirates have also kidnapped hundreds of people, usually holding them for ransom. Pirates have attacked all forms of shipping, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft (such as yachts) and luxury cruise liners. This is particularly prevalent off the coast of Somalia and Yemen (including the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden), in the Gulf of Guinea and near Mindanao and in the Sulu Sea. See our piracy bulletin for more information.

Particular areas of concern

Afghanistan: All parts of Afghanistan are subject to a high threat of kidnapping. A number of foreigners have been kidnapped in Afghanistan and held captive for an extended period of time. Foreign kidnapping victims have been murdered by their captors.

Colombia: In South America, terrorist groups are known to kidnap for ransom. Colombia has one of the highest rates of kidnappings in the world, often perpetrated by groups such as the FARC and the National Liberation Army in rural areas. Foreigners, including children, have been kidnapped and murdered.

North and West Africa: Instability in parts of North and West Africa such as northern Mali, Libya and north-eastern Nigeria have increased the risk of kidnapping throughout the region. Terrorists based in Mali and Nigeria have carried out a number of kidnappings over the past two years, including in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria. Further kidnappings are likely, especially in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia.

Southern Philippines/eastern Sabah: There is a persistent threat of kidnapping in southern Philippines, including coastal and island resorts and dive sites, particularly in remote locations in the Sulu Sea. The situation in the southern Philippines also creates an ongoing risk of kidnapping in the coastal region of eastern Sabah in Malaysia, which is highest in the area between the towns of Sandakan and Tawau and particularly at outlying resorts.

Syria and Iraq: The conflict in Syria has resulted in the kidnapping of a significant number of foreign nationals, including media and humanitarian workers. Since August 2014, a number of foreign nationals kidnapped in Syria have been executed by their captors. The escalation of violence in Iraq since June 2014 has resulted in a significantly less predictable security environment and an increased threat to foreigners. Groups based in Syria and Iraq are more likely to execute their hostages for propaganda purposes than to seek to use them for negotiation or bargaining.

Yemen and Somalia: The threat of kidnapping in Yemen and Somalia is ongoing. Foreigners, especially Westerners, are highly prized by criminals and terrorists. Large ransom payments paid for the release of some hostages reinforce the effectiveness of kidnapping as a viable source of revenue.

Somalia Kidnapping Piracy Pirates Aden Ship Security

Tribal and criminal groups also conduct kidnappings of foreigners to use as leverage in local disputes and negotiations with the government. Any foreigner kidnapped in Yemen or Somalia is in danger of being on sold to terrorists. Sailors on ships and yachts off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean are also a regular target for kidnappers.

Recent kidnappings

Recent kidnapping incidents include:

  • In September 2014, a French national was kidnapped while hiking in the mountains of northeast Algeria and later murdered by his captors.
  • In September 2014, a US journalist was released after being held captive in Somalia for over three years.
  • In August, September and October 2014, UK and US nationals kidnapped while working in Syria were murdered by their captors.
  • In August 2014, a foreign national was kidnapped in Oyo State, Nigeria.
  • In August 2014, a Canadian national was released after being held hostage in Colombia for seven months.
  • In August 2014, three foreign nationals kidnapped in Libya were released after being held for four months.
  • In July 2014, a number of foreigners kidnapped near Tripoli, Libya, were released by their captors.
  • In June 2014, a foreign national was kidnapped near the town of Kunak in eastern Sabah, Malaysia.
  • In May 2014, Jordan’s Ambassador to Libya was released after being kidnapped in Tripoli in February.
  • In April 2014, a foreign tourist was kidnapped from a resort in eastern Sabah, Malaysia.
  • In April 2014, extremists attempted to kidnap foreign aid workers from the Dabaab refugee camp in Kenya, near the border with Somalia.
  • In April 2014, a Canadian and two Italian nationals were kidnapped from their residence in Tchere in the Far North Region of Cameroon and later released.
  • In April 2014, two German nationals were kidnapped from a yacht in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines.
  • On 2 April 2014, a foreign tourist and local employee were kidnapped from a resort in eastern Malaysia.
  • In January and February 2014, several foreigners were kidnapped in separate incidents in the Yemeni capital Sana’a.
  • In January 2014, a South Korean official was kidnapped in Tripoli, Libya.
  • In January 2014, two Italian nationals were kidnapped near Derna, Libya.
  • In November 2013, two Taiwanese tourists were attacked in their hotel on an island off the coast of eastern Sabah, Malaysia. One tourist was murdered and another was kidnapped.
  • In November 2013, two French journalists were kidnapped in northern Mali and later found murdered.
  • In September and October 2013, a foreigner working with the UN and a foreign journalist were kidnapped in Sana’a, Yemen.

Traveller’s responsibilities

Having made a decision to enter a high risk zone, it is the responsibility of the traveller or their employer to do their own security risk assessments and to put in place their own security arrangements to reflect those assessments. The Australian Government is not able to provide security protection to travellers in such circumstances.

Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:

  • register your travel and contact details with us so we can contact you in an emergency. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
  • organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy. Travel insurance policies do not provide coverage for kidnapping, and cannot be used to pay ransoms.
  • subscribe to the travel advice for the destination you intended to travel to in order to receive free email updates each time the travel advice is reissued.
  • before travelling to areas where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, seek professional security advice and ensure effective personal security measures are implemented.
  • Source: smarttraveller.gov.au

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When your loved one is kidnapped


September 25, 2013

Source: Daily Life

Nigel_Brennan

 

Nigel Brennan was held hostage in Somalia and later freed after his family paid a randsom. Photo: TIMBAUERPHOTO.COM

In 2008 my brother Nigel was abducted while working in Somalia alongside Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout. I picked up the phone and spoke to the kidnappers when they rang to deliver the first ransom message and so I fell into the role of next of kin negotiator (the NOK). After establishing who I was, and my relationship with Nigel, they demanded $US 1.5 million for his safe release. The situation still seems surreal.

Over time, and with the assistance of some wonderful local Queensland police negotiators, I was actively trained to take the calls. The AFP moved into my parents’ house and I was taught to negotiate with the kidnappers by responding to a series of ‘what if‘ mock phone calls in anticipation of a real call from the kidnappers.

Initially I was fearful of the calls coming in, lest I say something wrong or hear something horrible happen to Nigel. Dealing with the situation affected my home life and all social engagements. From the kids’ soccer parties or going out to dinner, everything revolved around time zone differences with Somalia.

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Footage of Canadian Amanda Lindhout and Australian freelance photographer Nigel Brennan, the two foreign journalists kidnapped near Somalia’s capital. Screened on the Arabic Al Jazeera news service.

As the AFP and the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) increased their negotiations, they decreased my contact with the kidnappers and, in turn, Nigel. The AFP implemented a strategy of deliberately not talking to the kidnappers and we were not allowed to be involved in this decision.

After a while, the authorities took phone duties off me all together. I had no contact at all anymore with either Nigel or the kidnappers. We became desperate to hear Nigel’s voice to get any proof of life. No matter how awful the calls had been, at least we knew he was alive when we were receiving them. ‘Was he alive?’ was the constant unknown that hung over everything I did.

Friends cautioned me over the obsessive behavior that came with trying to get Nigel home. They were justified –Nigel was the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep and the first think I thought of when I woke up.

It had a huge impact on my relationship with my husband as I was effectively working full time on getting Nigel home. My husband had to be parent, home keeper and breadwinner all in one. I really was an absentee parent in my children’s lives at this stage and I’m very fortunate that they love Nigel dearly and could understand why it took my all.

The Australian government has a strict no ransom policy, though if a family has the means, they will negotiate on your behalf – though they refuse to allow you to offer any more than US$250,000.

We had raised half a million dollars to contribute ourselves when the government told us that they could no longer assist us if we were willing to provide that amount as a ransom. This news came 11 long months into Nigel’s ordeal.

Despite the government’s assurances they were doing all they could, other captives in Somalia that had been taken later than Nigel were being released, including Nigel’s Somalia colleagues.

After tracking down a phone number through friends of friends I spoke to one of the released kidnap victims and discovered there was an alternative to government channels – there were international risk management companies that specialised in kidnap and ransom.

My family members launched themselves into trying to find a company that would help us and even though the government actually uses these companies themselves, they were not forthcoming with names. After some long late night international calls we found some one who we thought could pull it off.

My sister-in-law and I flew to Canada to see him and try to get the Canadian family to come on board, as you cannot only get one kidnap victim out at a time – it’s an almost certain death penalty for the one left behind.

During our meeting John (our kidnap and ransom specialist) told us the average length of a kidnapping is three months. By this point, Nigel had been captive for almost four times this length of time. He suspected ours might take a little bit longer as we were in effect starting from scratch and had been affected by considerable government ‘noise’.

The change in direction was profound. Yes, we were paying a ransom, but for the first time there was a feeling of control. I was back to negotiating directly with the kidnappers and not feeling as worried about the calls as I had been initially.

Even when we received a torture phone call, John had helped us to prepare for the worst. He had mapped out a plan as to how the negotiations would work and for the first time since the whole ordeal began, things actually started working to plan.

After four months with John on board, including a trip to Nairobi for final negotiations and one failed recue attempt where we flew the extraction team and money in and back out again, Nigel was finally freed. Skinny, bearded and possibly changed forever – but free.

NNP~ArtistsNCH

 

Nicky Bonney and her brother Nigel Brennan are guests on SBS’s Insight program on SBS ONE which explores what happens when Australians are kidnapped overseas. Host Jenny Brockie hears from those who have been held hostage, as well as families and kidnap and ransom negotiators who discuss the delicate process of hostage negotiation and debate the Australian Government’s ‘no ransom’ policy.

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Conduct After Capture ( CAC) Course for Civilians / Companies that Operate in High and Medium Risk Areas


June 8 , 2013

ABP World Group Ltd.

Kidnapping is the number one form of monetary extortion around the world. It’s used so often by criminals, guerrillas, separatists, rebels, terrorists and drug cartels as a means of funding and intimidation that it’s practically an art form. There are even different regional styles.

For the CAC course (Conduct after Capture) contact ABP World Group. The objective of this course is to better prepare civilians for a kidnap/hostage situation and improve their chances of getting home alive. This course will be held in the south of Spain.

CAC Course

Al-Qaeda leader urges kidnapping of Westerners

Kidnappers

Kidnapping cases differ in the motivations of the kidnappers, the demands being made for the release of the hostages, and the circumstances where the kidnapping has occurred. Terrorist and criminal groups both use kidnapping as a tactic to achieve their goals.Terrorist groups often target foreigners. In some instances, terrorists have killed their kidnap victims when their demands were not met. Foreign employees, particularly those in the oil and mining sectors, aid and humanitarian workers, journalists, tourists and expatriates are regularly targeted.Terrorists may use local merchants such as tour and transport operators to identify foreign visitors for potential kidnap operations. Hostages may be taken by their captors into a neighbouring country. Humanitarian workers and tourists in Kenya have been kidnapped by militants and held in Somalia.Pirates have kidnapped hundreds of people, usually holding them for ransom. Pirates have attacked all forms of shipping, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft (such as yachts) and luxury cruise liners. For more information you should read the Travelling by sea bulletin.In South America, terrorist groups are known to kidnap for ransom. Colombia has one of the highest rates of kidnappings in the world, often perpetrated by groups such as the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in rural areas. Foreigners, including children, have been kidnapped and murdered.Cultural festivals are also attractive places for terrorists and criminals to identify and target tourists for kidnapping. These festivals bring people to predictable locations along unsecured routes.

10 Countries Where You’re Most Likely be Kidnapped for Ransom

1. Afghanistan

There’s nothing quite like a war with al Qaeda and the Taliban to put this country at the top of the kidnapping list. Combine that with the fact that much of the landscape is still lawless and no wonder this country reported 950 kidnapping for ransom per year. Now that the war is over, a power vacuum certainly exists and the place is still a haven for terrorists, arguably making it even more dangerous than when American forces first arrived.

2. Somalia

Though piracy has been driven to a three-year low thanks to ships hiring armed security and increased action from the world’s navies, Somalia remains a high risk for kidnapping because of the abject poverty and a government not strong enough to stop crime. At least two people are taken in Somalia every month. Among those taken offshore, there are still more than 200 hostages in the region; just in January, a hostage was killed in a botched rescue attempt by French forces.

Hostage Situations

3. Iraq

American combat forces may have left Iraq, but the danger is still ever present. Though no official stats on kidnapping are collected, the country topped this list in 2007 with an estimated 1,500 kidnappings that year. Crisis-management assistance company Red 24 still places the country in the top three because of its combined political, terrorist and criminal groups all carrying out kidnappings for ransom. Not to mention the ever-present threat of civil war, which will only increase the likelihood of kidnappings should violence between Sunni and Shias resume to its 2007 level.

4. Nigeria

This country records more than 1,000 kidnappings for ransom a year. At the time of this writing, seven foreigners have been taken by armed militants from a construction company’s camp after a guard was killed. [Editor’s note: The seven hostages have since been reported as murdered.] Seven hostages makes this the biggest kidnapping yet in a country plagued by Islamic extremist groups. The one responsible for the latest kidnapping is called Ansaru; they are linked to al Qaeda and were allegedly responsible for an attack on Nigerian troops traveling to Mali in 2012.

5. Pakistan

Official American ally Pakistan has been known to harbour terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden, right under the nose of its military. They also harbour hostages—official statistics say there are more than 15,000 kidnappings in Pakistan a year, but the real number could be much higher due to underreporting. Perhaps more troubling is that between 10 and 20 percent of kidnappings are for ransom. Most of the others were killed during rescue and, in the case of Daniel Pearl and others, beheaded.

6. Yemen

Last December, when an Austrian man and a Finnish couple were kidnapped in broad daylight on one of the safest streets in the capital city of Sana’a, it highlighted just how lawless the city has become. Sana’a is normally immune from the tribal instability that affects the rest of the country, but this year kidnappings, car-jackings and general crime is on the rise. In the country overall, more than 200 foreign nationals have been kidnapped over the past 20 years.

7. Venezuela

Venezuela has one of the highest rates of abduction per capita in the world—just asked Wilson Ramos, the Venezuelan-born Washington Nationals catcher was kidnapped in his own country last year before being rescued. There were 1,000 kidnappings in just the first 10 months of 2011. The country puts “Express Kidnappings,” in which a ransom is demanded that an individual or family can easily pay, on the map. Sometimes you’ll hear of “The Millionaire Walk,” in which a traveller is trapped by a cab driver who picks up armed thugs before taking the passenger to a number of ATMs—maxing out their bank account with every stop.

8. Mexico

Thanks mostly to the failed War on Drugs, the Council for Law and Human Rights reports that there are about 72 kidnappings a day in Mexico, which puts the annual kidnap rate at 26,280 for the year. This is in direct contradiction to the statistics reported by the federal police, which put the kidnapping rate at 1,083 between January and September in 2012—a rate of 4.5 kidnappings per day. The council blames the abduction situation on corruption within the federal police. “The big problem we have in Mexico, in terms of security, is precisely the bodies that should provide security to citizens,” Fernando Ruiz , president of the Council for Law and Human Rights, told The Latinos Post.

9. Haiti

Thankfully, kidnappings have gone down in Haiti since their peak between 2004 and 2006, but the director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti reports that they are still “fairly frequent.” The U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security agrees, but also says incidents are less predictable and more widespread than they used to be. Montreal’s La Presse suggests that kidnappings have not exploded since the earthquake in 2010, but they do rise during the holiday season, thanks to the belief that families have more cash on-hand during that time to pay for gifts and school tuition.

10. Colombia

Incidents have dropped over the past 10 years, but kidnapping still remains an ever-present threat in Colombia. The country still has one of the highest numbers of kidnap victims in the world; in the last few years, kidnappings have started to rise again from the all-time low of 172 in 2009 to 258 in 2011. The rise has been attributed to kidnappings carried out by drug cartels such as Los Rastrojos, but guerilla groups like the FARC AND ELN still play a prominent role.

 Other known risk areas:

Alergia, Libya, Morocco, Jordan, Philippines, Lebanon, Syria, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa.

The Risk is eminent in the middle east and many of the South and Central American countries, Africa and in some parts of Asia

For the CAC course (Conduct after Capture) contact ABP World Group. The objective of this course is to better prepare civilians for a kidnap/hostage situation and improve their chances of getting home alive. 

This course will be held in the south of Spain.

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Risk Assessment – Threat of ‘lone wolf’ terrorism growing, experts warn


April 30, 2013

Source: The daily telegraph

All eyes may be on Africa, but there are fears of a new, unpredictable threat in the west: the so-called “lone wolf”.

Anders-Behring-Breivik-ABB

This isn’t about a particular country or cause, and some worry it could be a growing trend.

In 2011 Anders Behring Breivik shocked the world with a Norwegian terror rampage. He bombed government buildings in Oslo before going on a shooting spree at a camp held by the country’s Labour Party. The bombings killed eight people, and the shooting left 69 dead.

Breivik was later found to hold various far-right beliefs, including a perception of Islam and Marxism as “the enemy”.

There are fears this kind of attack could happen more often.

Workplace violence

In America, Nidal Malik Hasan is set to undergo court martial proceedings this year after being accused of carrying out a mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. The shooting, which happened in 2009, left 13 dead and 30 injured.

The Fort Hood attack is regarded by some as terrorism because of Hasan’s alleged radicalisation, with reports he had been emailing Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric and alleged al-Qaeda recruiter based in Yemen, and monitored for several years as a security threat. The US Department of Defence, however, has referred to it as an act of workplace violence.

Lone wolf attacks could be related to various forms of extremism – for example, Islamism or neo-Nazism – but the danger is that they are hard to track. People operating alone can be harder to follow than a large organisation.

In a recent book, Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understand the Growing Threat, security consultant Jeffrey D Simon argues that lone wolves can be more creative than terrorist groups.

Terrorists

Terrorist breeding ground

He also points out the importance of the internet as a potential breeding ground for terrorists – though this is also an opportunity for counter-terrorism agencies to monitor potential threats.

Britons present their own risks, with a potential rise in British-born terrorists who have trained abroad before returning to the UK.

Last year the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank predicted that terrorists could put their training in countries including Somalia, Yemen or Nigeria to use on UK streets.

In a report, RUSI director-general Michael Clarke wrote: “The threat they pose, so far, is in the possibility that high numbers of such individuals, operating alone and unsupported, albeit in an amateur way, may nevertheless be lucky in a few attempts.

“They are harder to track and their behaviour much harder to predict.”

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Ber rederne bruke bevæpnede vakter utenfor Somalia


Amerikanske myndigheter har advart mot en økt risiko for kapring utenfor Somalia, og har i lang tid oppfordret rederiene til å benytte bevæpnede vakter ombord. All lystbåttrafikk frarådes i området.

Skipsreder vil skyte pirater

Skipsreder Jacob Stolt-Nielsen (79) mener det internasjonale samfunnet er for snilt i sin behandling av sjørøverne, skriver Dagens Næringsliv.

I et debattinnlegg i Dagens Næringsliv i dag skriver han at «Pirater tatt i internasjonalt farvann har alltid vært straffet med døden, oftest utført på stedet,» og poengterer at den brutale praksisen bør gjeninnføres.

– Jeg er litt tøff i det innlegget, men jeg sier det som det er. Måten å løse problemet på, er å senke piratene og deres skip med mann og mus. Det er slik med alle lønnsomme forretninger, de vokser fort så lenge de er lønnsomme. Piratvirksomhet har vokst enormt, de får mellom 25 og 40 millioner kroner per båt, og har ingen utgifter, sier Stolt-Nielsen til DN. Les mer her: DN

Vår vurdering er at all skipstrafikk i området bør ha bevæpnet vakthold for egen sikkerhet, men også for å sende signaler til piratene om at angrep på skip kan være forbundet med høy risiko. Så lenge slike forbrytelser ikke straffes hardt, så vil virksomheten fortsette med økt styrke.

Siste nytt: VG

Fire Amerikanere drept av pirater ( VG )

Norsk skip forsøkt kapret idag 24 februar

Published by: ABP World Group Ltd. Anti Piracy services world wide

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