Kidnapped No 1 – Introduction

The papers have had a good run of stories about abductions just recently. There is the ongoing situation of the security people in Iraq, but the seizure of a three-year-old British girl in Nigeria a couple of weeks ago brought the issue of the kidnapping of ordinary expatriates abroad into the news. But you know there are so many kidnappings that just don’t make your papers. I often wonder why one case is such a big news thing and then others are ignored.

The vast majority of kidnaps are carried out purely for cash and even where there are political motives for the kidnap, money will often change hands at the end of the day. Its Ok for world leaders to talk bravely about not negotiating with terrorists or kidnappers but it is not them that is at risk, so paying up is often a very cheap resolution. Of course you can end a kidnapping by force but that can be costly in human terms as well as financial.
Kidnaps have increased by about 70% in the last eight years. About 40% of those are company employees, 28% are “wealthy people” and the rest are usually just good old family feuds, drugs wars or plain criminality. Not many world leaders feature among those figures!

Obtaining reliable figures on the number and type of kidnappings across the world is almost impossible. Kidnap resolution is a very skilled and specific task. Acquaintances of mine in the field tell me that they reckon that up to 90% of all abductions go unreported.

The top seven places for the threat of kidnap are:

1: Iraq

2: Nigeria

3: Haiti

4: Colombia/Mexico

5: Ecuador

6: Venezuela

7: Philippines

One security firm publishes a monthly kidnap monitor drawn from media reports. Their report for June 2007 runs to 26 pages and details kidnapping incidents and updates Kenya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Australia, China, India, Russia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Italy, Turkey, Iraq, the US, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela and Peru.

As a result of the rising threat, firms are spending increasing amounts of money on insuring against kidnap and ransom plus they are giving some training and briefing when deploying staff to risky countries.

Whilst it is true to say that in many areas, such as Mexico, middle-class locals are more at risk than foreigners, many firms still don’t take the risks to expats seriously enough.

At the moment Nigeria is probably the biggest hot spot. The trouble is that the government has withdrawn troops from the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula because of its border dispute with Cameroon. This coupled with organised crime plus inter faith conflict means that the area is not as safe as it might be. In fact I read somewhere that 25% of Nigeria’s oil producing capacity is lost because of the problem at the moment.

However, just every now and then, the bandits fuck up big time and kidnap somebody with friends or uncles.

6 Responses to “Kidnapped No 1 – Introduction”

  1. I’m surprised South Africa isn’t in the top 7. Maybe the rich folks are too well protected with bodyguards.

  2. I’m on the edge of my seat to hear the next installment …!

  3. dl says:

    Like Stratford Girl, I can’t wait…

  4. John Humphries says:

    Like Gorilla Bananas I would have thought the problem was bad in SA. I have a brother there and they live in constant fear.

  5. Uncle says:

    GB – sorry I didn’t make it for the cuppa when I was over in the dark continent. You would have been too busy with sir Cliff. Anyway re your comment I must agree with you. I was under the impression that the problem is South Africa was very bad. I know lots of kids are abducted because of the witchcraft and the “treatments” for AIDS. Maybe it is a case that the people that allegedly “Matter” or “Count” are very well protected and the “Others” dont figure in the stats.

    Stratford Girl & DL – stay tuned. DL I hear you had a bit of an exciting time of it in the floods. Hope you have your car back and are not too out of sorts.

    JH – I think your bro has good reason. If he needs a security review drop me an email and I will speak to a chum of mine who will do something for him.

  6. And on that rivetting and threatening note I hasten to Chapter Two!!!

    So glad you’re back Norman!

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