Nigerian kidnappings

Nigeria is no doubt becoming one of the world’s hottest spots for kidnappings and tourist attacks. The Liberty whitepaper reported that Nigeria has a very high risk of kidnapping especially in the hot spots of the Niger Delta boarder and northern Nigeria.

The target industries include mining, transportation and construction workers. International employees working in the oil industry are also becoming at high risk for kidnapping. Nigerian kidnappings are the most dangerous, including the abduction of the Chibok girls who still haven’t returned home.

In recent news, a German national was kidnapped in Nigeria on the 16th of July 2014. The man was abducted outside of his residence when he was leaving in the neighbourhood of Anguwan Faransa. The Liberty whitepaper also indicates that locations prone to kidnappings include workplaces, hotels and in transit. The German national is an instructor of a government-run technical school.

Reports by witnesses indicate that the kidnapping was carried out by approximately 20 militants on motorcycles. Although no group has admitted or taken responsibility for the abduction yet, Adamawa, where Anguwan Faransa is centralised, is a throttlehold for the notorious Islamist group Boko Haram.There are other militant groups active in the state of Adamawa.

Kidnappings in Nigeria and other African countries are on the rise and with the failure to capture and prosecute the groups involved, it is only getting worse.

During our H.E.A.T course we will teach you about the selection and surveillance of target during  kidnappings scenarios. We also cover the Psychology of survival in our survival manual. BOOK our kidnap mitigation course today and DOWNLOAD our manual to learn about surviving a kidnap scenario.


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Basic self-defence tips

There are countless reasons we can think of to convince you why you should learn even the most basic self-defence skills or tools that can come in very handy. Whether you do not feel safe walking alone or you would like to be able to protect a loved one in unfortunate events, this is a post for everyone.

Physical violence occurs anywhere at any time. Sometimes it is predicted but in most cases it is not. In the modern world of technology, people are so distracted when in public space, constantly referring to their cell phones, iPads or listening to music on their headsets. These incidents are not only distracting you from your surroundings but they are also an attraction to criminal attacks.

Here are some basic self-defence tips you should think of next time you are walking in an uneasy space:

  • Prevention is the best way. Always be aware of your surroundings while walking or even driving and always be alert and awake at   all times.
  • If you are in a building and you have an anxious feeling about the person you are in the elevator with, prevent them from attacking you by stopping at every floor.
  • React as early as possible before an attack can gain full control over you. Attack first the vulnerable parts of the body which include, nose, eyes, throat, groin, knees and stomach.
  • Use your elbows, knees and head to attack. These parts of your body are more effective to inflict pain.
  • Use everyday objects as weapons that can be found in the environment around you such as keys, pen, rolled newspaper as a baton, you can also throw some sand in the attacker’s eyes or use your spray or perfume.

Remember that all fighting skills depend on balance. These are just basic self-defence tips that you can use in your daily life. However, in our H.E.A.T Manual we take you step by step on how to effectively defend yourself in seriously hostile attacks.

Our comprehensive basic self-defence skills will give you a physical strategy you should follow if you find yourself in a physical predicament.

DOWNLOAD our H.E.A.T survival manual today and learn more about effective basic self-defence skills.


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Terrorist attacks on Kenya

The coast of Kenya is the one part of the country that is considered to be dependent of tourism to maintain its economic growth. However, tourist attraction regions are plagued with violent terrorist attacks on Kenya that have been blamed on Islamist militants.

In September 2013, Kenya’s biggest shopping mall in the capital city of Nairobi was attacked by Al-Shabaab militants. The gunmen attacked the populated mall killing 67 civilians in what was considered the country’s worst incident since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy that killed more than 200 people. These are only some of the biggest terrorist attacks on Kenya in recent years.

In 2014, a grenade attack hit a tourist resort bar in a popular coastal resort town in Kenya. It was reported that the attack was executed by two men on motorbikes who drove passed the resort bar and threw grenades at the customers inside the bar.

The crowded bar, called Tandoori situated in the Indian Ocean of Diani, was attacked in the early hours of a Thursday afternoon. The two men on the back of the motorbikes fled before the police could arrive at the scene. The sudden attack left 10 people injured, at least one victim was seriously injured and had to go for surgery at a nearby hospital.

Terrorist attacks on Kenya and other African countries are increasing by the day. Al-Qaeda militants are spreading across the world, including Al-Shabaab that has recently launched at attack on the Somalian presidential palace. In our H.E.A.T Manual, we cover a full module on the different makes of bombs. We also cover medical emergency procedures you should follow during a bomb injury.

DOWNLOAD our ultimate survival manual and learn more about emergency medicine today!


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Kidnap and exploitation of women

Kidnap and exploitation of women in Africa and other parts of the world is increasing by the day. Here is a brief post on some of the kidnap and exploitation of women in and around Africa.

Inside the islands of India, Andaman Islands’ Jarawa tribe have been experiencing a host of incidents linked to kidnapping and exploitation. In early 2014, the Jawara tribe reported to authorities eight women missing. The eight women’s incident was reported following a string of extreme sexual exploitation of Jawara women.

Seven men were arrested following the report of the alleged abducted and kidnapped vulnerable Jarawa women. It is reported that the Jarawa tribe “have only had friendly interaction with their neighbours since 1998 and are highly vulnerable to exploitation, diseases, and dependency on goods such as alcohol brought in by outsiders”. It was found that the women were being enticed with alcohol and used by poachers for hunting and gathering inside the tribe’s reserve.

Kidnap and exploitation of women in poverty stricken environments is irrevocably increasing. Other motives may include human trafficking, slavery and sexual labour. In Africa, kidnapping motives may vary for different reasons, some include, political reasons, exchange of terrorist group members, as well as power over land.

In recent news, kidnap and exploitation of women has taken centre stage in Africa and around the world. The Boko Haram kidnapping is still one of the most highly sought after kidnapping scenarios across the globe, with a whopping 200 and more girls kidnapped. According to, more than 600 people have been victims of Boko Haram through kidnappings and terrorists acts across Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Kidnapping is clearly a rising money-making tragedy in Africa. During our 2 day Kidnap Mitigation course we offer practical scenarios and excises that can prepare one for a potential kidnapping situation. BOOK YOUR COURSE TODAY and learn how to return to the safety of your loved ones in hostile environments.


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Al-Shaab attacks in Africa

Al-Shaab attacks in Africa
Notorious rebel group Al-Shaab has once again proved that it is a force that will do whatever it takes to get its point across. The Somalia-based cell of the militant Islamist group Al-Qaeda took centre stage in the news in the first week of July 2014 when it was reported that a major bomb and armed assault was carried out against the presidential palace in Somalia. The famous militant attackers managed to infiltrate the heavily-fortified complex of the presidential palace before blowing themselves up.

Officials reported that there at least nine attackers who were all killed in the tragic attack. The officials also went on to say that “there were eight blasts towards the end of the fighting, believed to have been suicide vests. They detonated themselves”. However, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed were not inside or anywhere near the presidential palace when the incident occurred, therefore both men were unharmed. Sources from the security force reported that both the President and the Prime Minister were protected by guards from the African Union’s 22 000 strong AMISOM force.

Al-Shaab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP that “”Our commandos are inside the so-called presidential office”. During confirmation and admission the proud spokesman added, “The enemy suffered high casualties during the operation, which is ongoing. The assault is a victory for us since the foreign installed government said that security was beefed up”. Police and authorities conducted investigations on numbers of casualties and the types of bombs used. Nicholas Kay, UN’s top envoy to Somalia condemned the attack on Somalia’s government.

Militant rebel groups are continuously attacking different regions on Africa. PURCHASE OUR SURVIVAL MANUAL TODAY and you can learn about the different attacks, bombs and blasts that happen in Africa on page 25 of our survival manual.

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The fight to survive mentally – mental fitness

After experiencing a traumatic experience such as being held captive in a hostage or kidnap situation, it is important to keep your mind fit and healthy.

Here are some tips on how you can fight to survive mentally in a hostile environment by keeping your priorities straight and not losing hope.

What would you do if you were stuck in a deserted hostile environment with little to no food, no shelter and no idea of your location? Well, most people would panic at the first instance; however, the right approach to this scenario would be to stay mentally fit. Besides avoiding getting captured, it is also important to learn how to survive mentally in case you do get captured. In this article we are going to briefly discuss mental fitness in a hostile environment.

Strong mental fitness:
In kidnap scenarios, only the strong will survive. Often, the biggest obstacles captives face is psychological obstacles. They are drawn deep into the fear of the unknown, stressing over things that are beyond your control, anger at being trapped in the dilemma and blame. It important to remember that these feelings are normal, however, dwelling on these feelings can be overwhelming. If you continue to engage in these negative feelings, you can be paralyzed by depression and indecisiveness.

At the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, the vast Army base where soldiers train for three years to join Special Forces, they practice and suggest the SERE stage which stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape. The instructors of SERE advise that you should keep your priorities straight which include your major needs such as food, water and shelter.

Since surviving takes practice and whilst the ability to make fire is a great lifesaver, here is the survival acronym the Army’s uses according to Special Forces in the USA:

S -Size up the situation
U – Use all your senses
R – Remember where you are
V – Vanquish fear and panic
I – Improvise
V – Value living.
A – Act like the natives.
L – Live by your wits

In our H.E.A.T course we cover the Psychology of survival in hostile in environments. BOOK YOUR COURSE TODAY and learn how to mentally survive in hostile environments in Africa.

You can also PURCHASE AND DOWNLOAD OUR MANUAL and learn more about the Psychology of survival.

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Kidnapping in the mining and oil industry

Kidnapping in the mining and oil industry is very high in some African countries. Matthew Maguireo managed to return from the gruesome experience of kidnapping in the mining and oil industry of the Niger Delta.

The risks and possibilities of kidnappings are extremely high when travelling in Africa, especially when one is working in the mining and oil industry. Matthew Maguireo of Yanchep was working in Nigeria and held captive for nine gruelling months. When a man kicked in a door and started spraying AK47 around the room, missing Matthew’s foot by an inch, he thought this was the beginning of the end of his life.

The armed men walked in the room and robbed everything belonging to Matthew and other foreign key personnel and referred to them as “white gold”. The father of four was working in Nigeria when he was captured along with 27 other oil workers en-route to an oil rig in the Niger Delta and held hostage for nine months.

The men were taken deep into the jungle with speedboats, within 24 hours they were surrounded by more than 50 armed men cheering. Matthew and other international employees of the oil industry were held hostage by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). Matthew, who is originally from the UK, later found out that he, along other oil workers were held hostage in exchange of the MEND leader Henry Okah who was arrested in Nigeria for arms trafficking.

For long nine months, Matthew was beaten, threatened with death and even forced to starve. Every day he woke up thinking about what he could do to survive, so he collected water from rain in discarded bottles to keep him alive. With his family not aware of his status and whether or not he was still alive, Matthew was continuously lied to about his release date. Taken by a speedboat to an island off the coast, Matthew was finally released after nine months of torture.

Kidnapping in the mining and oil industry are very high in countries like Nigeria and Niger and the locations usually include workplaces, hotels and transit. During our H.E.A.T courses we specialize in kidnapping in the mining and oil industry to equip key personnel travelling to high risk countries with the necessary tools and knowledge to survive.



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Post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder

After experiencing a traumatic event it is normal to experience shock and anxiety. In this article, we are going to discuss post-traumatic stress disorder, the reactions to traumatic attacks and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD is your body’s reaction to traumatic shocking events that leaves you feeling unsafe and helpless, potentially putting your life at risk. Although PTSD varies from person to person, it is congenial to say that PTSD is mostly caused by traumatic incidents such as war, assault, rape, car crash, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, catastrophes and kidnapping to name a few. The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD  can be complex and may last longer than expected.

The symptoms of PTSD may only start showing hours or days after the traumatic even occurred. Symptoms of PTSD can be broken down in three categories:

Re-experiencing symptoms – these symptoms include reliving the trauma over again through flashbacks, bad dreams and frightening thoughts.
Avoidance – these symptoms include staying away from events or environments that may trigger the memory of the traumatic event. They also include feeling emotionally numb, strong guilt, depression and worry, and finally, losing interest in activities you once found enjoyable and having trouble remembering dangerous events.
Hyper-arousal – these symptoms include being easily startled, feeling tense or edgy, having difficulty sleeping and having angry outbursts.

Risk factors of PTSD may include (but are not limited to):
• Having a history of mental illness
• Living through dangerous and traumatic events
• Having no social support after the occurrence of the event
• Feeling extreme fear

Resilience factors that may help reduce the risk of PTSD include:
• Seeking support from close friends and family or otherwise professional help
• Different coping strategies such as getting through the event and learning from it
• Finding support groups that can assist you with your ordeal
• Being able to cope and react without fear

In our H.E.A.T course we cover a module on Post-traumatic stress disorder as part of our 2 Day Kidnap Mitigation course.

BOOK YOUR COURSE TODAY and learn how to deal with traumatic stress disorder in hostile environments.


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Cultural Sensitivities and differences in Africa

Here are some of the most important cultural sensitivities and differences in Africa to consider whilst travelling on business.

According to An “Most people are aware of some cultural differences and sensitivities when doing business globally, but not of how widespread they are. For example, when doing business in the Middle East, one should never show the bottom of one’s foot. In Japan, be sure to accept a business card with both hands and understand that the word “no” is rarely ever heard in a business meeting.”

When conducting a business it is important to consider the medium in which you conduct your business, such as communication done via the internet, as it is advised that you communicate verbally effective with your international counterparts. It is also advised that you refrain from using slang and idiomatic phrases in order to ensure that there is clear understanding between you and your counterparts.

Cultural sensitivities vary in the African continent, however, they remain crucial and necessary to implement and understand.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe:
President Robert Mugabe has been the nation of Zimbabwe’s president for more than 24 years and is widely known for his extreme governance of his country. When South African renowned music band Freshly Ground was banned from performing in Zimbabwe, it rang alarms in the cultural sensitivities of Zimbabwe’s Authorities. The band which is formed by South Africans, Zimbabweans and Mozambicans and has a huge pan-African fan-base was banned following a video they released that allegedly portrays a “spitting image-style of the ageing president Robert Mugabe as a chicken afraid to relinquish power.” Zimbabwe reportedly has a law that forbids people to make anecdotes about the president.

Anti-gay laws in Africa:
Although not all African countries have officially passed the anti-gay law, the majority of the African nation is extremely sensitive when it comes to homosexuality. In recent news, Uganda has been in hot water and overly criticized worldwide for passing the anti-gay law act. The anti-homosexuality law act was officially passed by the parliament of Uganda on 20 December 2013 with a life in prison sentence to those found guilty of the “crime’. According to The Guardian, “Uganda has suffered an alarming rise in attacks on gay and lesbian people since it passed an anti-homosexuality law late last year, research has found”. Persons found guilty of violating the act are subjected to mob violence, homes burned down, blackmail, lost jobs, arrests, and evictions and suicide.

The Guardian recorded that a report compiled by Sexual Minorities Uganda, detailed a number of recorded incidents had increased tenfold. At least 25 people were reported to have fled Uganda, seeking asylum in neighbouring Kenya and Rwanda. The report also recorded violent 162 incidents since the legislation was passed by parliament.  However, Uganda is not the only African country practising this harsh punishment. Leading Nigerian authors’ including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jackie Kay have voiced their opinion and condemn the draconian new anti-gay law in Nigeria.

Other countries that have been reported as being anti-gay but have not officially passed a punishable law or have a less severe punishment, include Zambia, Cameroon, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Ghana, Morocco, Liberia, Malawi, Libya, Kenya, Algeria. Ethiopia is expected to pass a severe anti-gay bill, while the Zimbabwean government has carried out anti-homosexuality campaigns since 1995. In other cases, countries such as South Africa are liberal when it comes to homosexuality and sexual orientation and have even legalised gay marriage across the nation.

How do you protect your homosexual key personnel working in Africa?
Islamic Laws in Africa:
The Islam religion is spread wide across African countries and has been so since the early 7th Century, making Africa the largest Islam continent outside of Arabia. Islam in Africa has been forced to be reshaped by the ever changing social, economic and political conditions in Africa, however, it remains resilient in many African countries.

In Egypt, Islam is predominantly practised across the whole nation, specifically in the major city of Cairo. With a population of approximately 81.7 million people, with 94% of the population being Muslim and the 6% Coptic Christian. With the Egyptian state pressing its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, it is important to be aware of the rules that govern the Islam beliefs when traveling to Egypt, such as covering your full body as a woman walking the streets of Cairo.

In Nigeria, the nation is plagued by a great deal of different religious group with 50% being Islam, 40% Christian and 10% has indigenous beliefs. In recent news, the Nigerian insurgency, Boko Haram (which means Western education is forbidden), has shattered news all across the world after abducting more than 200 girls for over a month. Although a great number of Islamists groups have come out in protests denouncing Boko Haram as Islam, Boko Haram revealed in their recent video that they have now converted all the abducted girls into Muslim.

In very recent news, a Sudanese woman has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam and marrying a Christian man. Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was charged for allegedly committing apostasy for leaving Islam and becoming a Christian by a court in Khartoum. The heavily 8 months pregnant woman was also sentenced to a 100 lashes for marrying a non-Muslim man. The woman was given 3 days to recant but after refusing to return to Islam, she was sentenced to be hanged to death.

How do you train and protect your key personnel working in Africa on cultural sensitivities?

DOWNLOAD our H.E.A.T manual and learn more about the different cultural sensitivities in Africa.


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Kidnapping in Africa

Kidnapping in Africa is one of the biggest threats to key-personnel working in Africa. Here are some of kidnapping scenarios, statistics and hot zones in Africa.

According to The Liberty White paper Series on Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion, “Africa has experienced a significant increase in kidnappings for both political reasons and financial gain in recent years. Kidnap events in West Africa and parts of central Africa, where many foreign mining and oil companies operate, are common.”

Nation Master reported that in 2006 and the years before the results for kidnapping in some African countries were:
• South Africa – 6.65% in 2004
• Swaziland – 8.61% in 2006
• Tunisia – 5.77% in 2006
• Zimbabwe – 1.58% in 2006
• Algeria – 0.44 in 2006
• Morocco – 0.27 in 2006

In recent news:
• According to World News Report, “Outbreaks of violence in Kidal, Mali has killed at least one government security official, injured civilians and UN peacekeepers, and resulted in the seizure of government buildings and taking of hostages”.
• Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram has been described by the USA president Barack Obama as the most dangerous terrorist organization. Boko Haram has caused havoc in Nigeria through bombings, assassinations and now the abduction of more than 200 school girls. It has been over a month now that Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 200 Chibok girls and has forced them to convert to Islam as well as threatened to sell some.
The Liberty White paper series reported that “Militant groups and criminal gangs are expanding their activities leading to a higher frequency of kidnappings across a widening geographic area”. The report also stated the following:
• Al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for an attack on a uranium mine in central Niger, September 2010, where seven foreign executives were taken hostage. Four remained in captivity and are believed to be held in northern Mali. The French military have been used to track down and rescue the hostages.
• Since 2008, AQIM have taken more than 25 foreign hostages, a number of whom remain in captivity. AQIM alone have reportedly collected over US$70 million in ransom payments from 2006 to 2011.

The Liberty White papers suggests that “employers are responsible for the welfare and safety of their personnel. While most companies have detailed risk mitigation strategies in place, kidnappings are not always avoidable”. Those most at risk of kidnappings include foreign employees of multinational companies (particularly in the mining, oil and construction sectors), non-government (NGO) staff, tourists and foreign diplomats have also been targets.
Country profiles according to The Liberty White paper:

Eight countries in West and Central Africa:

1. Nigeria: Fighting kidnapping on two fronts

Risk: Very high
Hot spots: Niger Delta and northern Nigeria
Targets: Mining, oil, transportation and construction workers.
Locations: Workplace, (including offshore), hotels and in transit.

2. Mali: Northern Mali is a base for al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb

Risk: Very high
Hot spots: Northern Mali but very high throughout the country.
Targets: All foreigners are at risk.
Locations: Public locations, hotels and in transit.

3. Mauritania: A lack of security provides kidnappers with greater opportunity.

Risk: Very high
Hot spots: Nouakchott, south-east and eastern Mauritania.
Targets: All foreigners are at risk.
Locations: In transit and public locations.

4. Niger: Increasing threat on the northern border with Mali

Risk: Very high
Hot spots: Niger-Mali border region, Arlit
Targets: Mining and construction workers
Locations: Workplace, hotels and transit

5. Burkina Faso: Increasing threat on the northern border with Mali

Risk: Medium
Hot spots: Northern Burkina Faso
Targets: Militants are seeking to identify foreign targets
Locations: Unknown

6. Ghana: Scams can lead to kidnapping and extortion

Risk: Low
Hot spots: None identified
Targets: None identified
Locations: None identified

7. Guinea: Monitor events in Mali for change

Risk: Low
Hot spots: None identified
Targets: None identified
Locations: None identified

8. Democratic Republic of Congo: Mining workers likely to become targets as industry expands.

Risk: High
Hot spots: Kinshasa, Kivu and other north eastern border regions.
Targets: Currently NGO workers, potential for mining and oil workers
Locations: Workplace, residence and in transit
Republic of Congo: Security issues in the DRC often spill over into the Congo, therefore the kidnapping risks are low.

During our H.E.A.T Kidnap Mitigation course, we teach you how to recognize a potential kidnapping threat and also, how to survive if captured.

DOWNLOAD our H.E.A.T manual today and read about Kidnap Mitigation course.


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