Tag Archives: kidnapping

Nigeria: Russian captain kidnapped

Pirates kidnapped two Russian sailors from the refrigerator ship Water Phoenix, the Embassy of Russian Federation in Nigeria has confirmed. (Image: illustration).

We confirm that two Russians were kidnapped from the ship Water Phoenix as a result of an attack by pirates 30 kilometers away from Lagos on September 8,” the embassy said on its official portal. “In cooperation with Nigerian law enforcement agencies we are exerting efforts to establish the hostages’ whereabouts and secure their release.”

According to the Nigerian portal Nigerian Tribune, the pirates seized the ship’s captain and another member of a crew, while the other 16 sailors managed to lock themselves in a compartment. The entire crew has been formed from 18 sailors – 7 Russians and 11 Filipinos.

The portal Dryad Global, devoted to maritime security matters, said that pirates had attacked the refrigerator ship Water Phoenix under the Liberian flag on the way from the Dutch port of Ijmuiden . At the moment of the attack the vessel was navigating southwest of Lagos. According to the information available it belongs to a company registered in Germany.

The Gulf of Guinea stretching from Senegal in the north to Angola in the south is notorious as the worst piracy ravaged area globally. In the first quarter of this year it accounted for 45% of world piracy incidents.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (“IMB”), the piracy can be defined as “the act of boarding any vessel with intent to commit theft or any other crime, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act”.

Reducing piracy is an ongoing battle, but in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic the situation has aggravated. Previously the Somali waters are perhaps the most well-known location of the modern-day pirates, largely due to headlines generated during the 2000s. Since then, the region has managed to significantly reduce numbers of piracy incidents, in part due to surveillance from the air and sea, and an increased international cooperation between countries’ navies. However, now the Gulf of Guinea has taken the lead. This fall in numbers became a global trend, with incidents of piracy falling worldwide in recent years.

2020 is, however, on course to buck this downward trend. The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 98 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first half of 2020, up from 78 in the first half of 2019.

Kidnapped Bulgarian capitan freed

Captain of a Portuguese-flagged cargo ship who was kidnapped along with seven other sailors by pirates off the coast of Benin last month, has been freed, Bulgaria’s foreign Ministry announced on May 25.

The Bulgarian captain of the container ship Tommi Ritscher, which was attacked at the port of Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea on April 19, was already in an European country and would soon return to Bulgaria, the Ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry said it has been in close coordination with the ship’s owners but did not give other details. It’s unclear what whether the other seven sailors have been released.

Nigeria: vessel crew kidnapped

Pirates have kidnapped 19 crew members of a Greek crude oil tanker off Nigeria, an official with the ship’s operator confirmed on December 5. Reportedly, the vessel was carrying crude for Indian refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp. The vessel was chartered by French oil company Total to deliver Bonny Light oil to Vizag in southern India, the source said. (Image above: illustration)

“We are doing everything necessary to make sure that the 19 crew members will return safe,” an official at Navios said. Meanwhile, an Indian government source said its mission in Nigeria had taken up the matter of the kidnappings with the Nigerian government and security agencies.

On December 3 the vessel was 77 nautical miles (142 km) off Bonny island when crew were seized, the official said

The Hong Kong-flagged supertanker Nave Constellation, capable of carrying up to two million barrel of oil, is operated by Greek shipping company Navios Tankers Management.

Seven crew members remained on board and were told to take the loaded vessel to a safer position, the statement said. 

“All appropriate authorities” have been alerted, and “all the necessary action is being taken to secure their well-being and early release”, the statement said.

Benin guide found dead

A corpse of the guide for two French tourists who went missing on safari in Pendjari parc in Benin last week has been found in a burnt car, a local official and a regional security source said.

The fate of two French tourists, who failed to return to the lodge in the Pendjari National Park in northern Benin, is unknown, the sources said.

French mass media reported that they were believed to be kidnapped, citing unnamed regional sources.

France’s foreign affairs ministry could not confirm the information so far, though it has acknowledged that two nationals and their guide had been missing since May, 1. However they underlined they have advised against travelling to the area.

The relevant authorities in Benin and neighbouring Burkina Faso, where the sources say the car was found, declined to comment.

In March 2009 the park was nominated as a tentative site for UNESCO’s World Heritage Site program, and in July 2017 it was officially inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a transnational extension of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex. Stretching across three countries, W-Arly-Pendjari Complex is the largest and most important continuum of terrestrial, semi-aquatic and aquatic ecosystems in the West African savanna belt.

 

Uganda kidnappers demand $500,000 ransom

An American citizen who was kidnapped with her driver at Uganda’s most popular wildlife park by gunmen had failed to take an armed ranger as required by the park’s regulations, a spokesperson for the wildlife authority said.

Four armed men in Uganda‘s Queen Elizabeth National Park. according to CNN have used the victim’s phone to demand $500,000 ransom.

We strongly believe this ransom is the reason behind the kidnap,” a police officer said to CNN TV channel. They were ambushed and kidnapped near Katoke Gate between 5 pm and 7 pm on April, 2. “Other four tourists who were left abandoned and unharmed later contacted the base (lodge) and were quickly got safely out of any danger,” a press release said.

The Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is Uganda’s most visited wildlife attraction.

Kimberley Sue Endecott (35), and Ugandan driver Jean Paul were on a game drive in the Park when four gunmen ambushed their vehicle in evening hours, police said. However, an elderly couple also at the scene were not taken and raised the alarm.

Militant groups as Somali Islamists or Congolese-based rebels operate in Uganda, but none of the group claimed responsibility for the armed incident. At present the regular crime is regarded as a privileged version of the assault.

There is ongoing police operation, however for the evident reasons, the details are not revealed.

Russian sailors abducted near Benin

Six sailors were abducted when pirates attacked a ship with a Russian crew off the coast of Benin (picutred) in West Africa, Russia’s Maritime and River Transport agency confirmed.

The pirates boarded Panama-flagged MSC Mandy early on December 2, Wednesday, Rosmorrechflot said.

There were 23 Russians and one Ukrainian among the crew members. Six sailors were kidnapped by the perpetrators, while the rest remain aboard unharmed.

AMENDED 5.01.2019 A group of armed individuals boarded the MSC Mandu vessel in the Guinea Strait on the night of January 2 and kidnapped six members of the crew: five Russians, and one Ukrainian.

In the Russian Embassy in Benin in West Africa the diplomats commented on information about the abduction of the vessel crew. The diplomatic mission confirmed the incident, citing representatives of the Benin government.

To clarify the situation with the cargo ship MSC Mandy, the Russian Embassy in Benin contacted the relevant authorities. They were informed  by the Navy of Benin,  about the incident on the night of January 1 and 2, when the cargo vessel MSC Mandy, which was located near the territorial waters of Benin was attacked by an armed group <…> The attackers kidnapped six people and escaped. Afterwards the ship navigated into the territorial waters of Nigeria and is currently located five nautical miles from Lagos, said Dyabin Albert, first secretary of the Russian Embassy in Benin.

According to preliminary information, on board of the ship MSC Mandy, there were 26 people, including 20 Russians, four Ukrainians and two citizens of Georgia. Armed with firearms attackers, a group of 7-9 people, climbed onto a ship sailing under the flag of Panama, and committed a robbery and kidnapping.

Now the consular departments in Nigeria and Benin are working on the issue of the release of people abducted by pirates. There are some indications, making investigators suggest the attackers were Somalian pirates.

 

 

 

Girls kidnapped in Niger

A group of armed men  kidnapped 15 girls overnight in southeastern Niger, the local mayor said on November 24. (Photo: illustration).

Boukar Mani Orthe, the mayor of Toumour in Diffa region near the border with Nigeria, said about 50 unidentified armed men seized the girls in a village about 9 km from the town centre.

Cameroon refugees continue to arrive to Nigeria

The principal and one teacher are still with the kidnappers. Let us keep praying,”  said Samuel Fonki, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon who negotiated to free 78 children, adding that one child had escaped independently.

The freed children were unharmed although their clothes were dirty and they appeared exhausted,

Cameroon Army spokesperson Didier Badjeck said the kidnappers released the children after the military found out their location. Two other children were still missing, along with the principal and teacher, he confirmed.

The number of Cameroonian refugees fleeing violence and seeking refuge in Nigeria crossed the 30,000 mark this week, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report.  Refugees fleeing the South-West and North-West Regions of Cameroon have been arriving since September 2017. Almost 600 arrived in refugee settlements in the last two weeks.

Interpol searches for Tanzania abducted tycoon

Africa’s youngest billionaire, kidnapped a week ago (11/10/2018) off the street outside a luxury hotel in Tanzania, was transported in a car that had arrived from “a neighboring country”, police source said, leaving the public to guess which one it might be among Tanzania’s neighbors:  Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

They had identified the car’s owner and driver, police claimed,  although they declined to reveal which country the car had come from, hinting it might cause a diplomatic raw.

Mohammed Dewji, (43) the CEO of the METL Group family conglomerate, was abducted by his he arrival for a morning meeting in Dar es Salaam last week. Forbes estimates his net worth as $1.5 billion, making him Africa’s 17th richest man and its youngest billionaire.

His family have offered a reward of 1 billion Tanzania shillings ($440,000) for information leading to his release.

Tycoon conglomerate, the METL group operates in some 35 industries as diverse as trading, agriculture, manufacturing, energy and petroleum, financial services, mobile telephony, infrastructure and real estate, transport, logistics and distribution.

AMANDMENT:  

Mohammed Dewji said he had been released and had returned home safely, publishing a short statement in his Twitter micro blog.

I thank Allah that I have returned home safely. I thank all my fellow Tanzanians, and everyone around the world for their prayers. I thank the authorities of Tanzania, including the Police Force for working for my safe return,” he said in a tweeted messaged.

Kidnapped in Nigeria travellers freed

Two American and two Canadian citizens have been freed after being kidnapped in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, a police spokesman said, as it emerged that five oil workers had been abducted in the southern Niger Delta region (pictured).

The Americans and Canadians were ambushed by unknown gunmen on January 17, while traveling from the town of Kafanchan in Kaduna state to the capital, Abuja. Kafanchan is more than three hours’ drive northeast of Abuja.

 In a separate incident, police in the Delta state said five Nigerian oil workers from local firm Sahara Energy were kidnapped next day. Delta state police said no arrests had been made so far.

Kidnapping, usually for ransom, is common in parts of Nigeria, though abductors usually target other Nigerians. However, the kidnapping of foreigners is not uncommon.

Mukhtar Aliyu, a spokesman for Kaduna state police, said the Americans and Canadians were freed on January 19.

“There’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria. Recent terrorist kidnaps have occurred mostly in northern Nigeria, but could occur anywhere. There are reports that Boko Haram is actively planning to kidnap foreigners, including in Bama Local Government Area of Borno state, along the Kumshe-Banki axis” – says UK FCO travel advice.

“There’s a high threat of terrorist kidnapping in areas where there is a Boko Haram presence or Islamic State West Africa (ISWA). As well as north east Nigeria, this is believed to include some northern and middle belt states including Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Niger and Adamawa states.” FCO warns travellers.