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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