Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

UK hostage recovers after special forces rescue, one UK soldier killed

British soldier killed in Afghan rescue mission

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S.-led NATO force in Afghanistan says a British soldier has been killed during a successful mission to rescue an Afghan police officer kidnapped by militants.

The provincial government of southern Helmand province says the policeman was kidnapped Sunday evening from a police checkpoint in Payan village in Nahri Sarraj district.

The NATO coalition said Monday that British forces recovered the kidnapped policemen, but the insurgents managed to flee. Security forces seized one of their mobile phones, some documents and explosives.

The NATO statement did not provide any further details about the soldier, nor how he was killed. It says another British soldier was injured.

The Independent UK  June 4, 2012

A British aid worker held hostage in Afghanistan is recovering from her ordeal today after special forces swooped on a remote hide-out.

Helen Johnston, 28, was dramatically rescued yesterday in an early morning raid following her 12-day ordeal.

Prime Minister David Cameron later commended the soldiers who carried out the “extraordinarily brave, breath-taking” operation and returned her to safety.

In a strongly-worded statement issued outside 10 Downing Street, he also warned hostage-takers could

“expect a swift and brutal end”.

The rescue attempt was authorised amid increasing concerns for the safety of Ms Johnston and her colleagues from Medair, a humanitarian non-governmental organisation based near Lausanne, Switzerland.

The aid worker, Kenyan national Moragwe Oirere, 26, and two Afghan civilians were abducted by a group associated with the Taliban on May 22 as they visited relief project sites in Badakhshan province in the north-east of the country.

Please see the original and read the entire story here

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Humanitarian Assistance, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The £1 billion hostage trade

How kidnapping became a global industry. Esme McAvoy and David Randall investigate.

Last week, the British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed when US forces stormed the camp of the group holding her to ransom. In September, eight tourists died during a botched hostage rescue in Manila.

In August, three Russian airmen were kidnapped in Darfur. In July, four journalists were seized in Mexico. In June, a Russian businessman’s grand-daughter was taken hostage. In May, it was Chinese technicians in Nigeria; in April, eight Red Cross workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo; in March, a British film-maker in Pakistan; in February, four Pakistani employees of a US aid agency; and in January, a US contractor in Iraq.

A ship seized off Somalia was redeemed for $7m, (£4.4m) a ransom of $550,000 was paid for a German banker’s wife, and, with $300,000 for an oil worker here and $10,000 for a shopkeeper’s son there, and with governments and insurers making their secret cash drops, it all adds up. If you are a hostage-taker, 2010 is turning out to be a very profitable year.

From Mexico City to Mogadishu, from Mosul to Manila, the numbers of aid workers, Western staff, tourists and locals taken hostage is rising. In Mexico, more than 7,000 were held in 2008 alone, in Nigeria at least 1,000 were taken last year, and in Somalia, foreigners are being kidnapped at a rate of 106 a month. All told, at least 12,000 people are now taken hostage each year, and this weekend more than 2,000 – at least 400 of whom are foreigners – are enduring yet another day in a makeshift “prison”, not knowing, from hour to hour, if they will be freed or whether, once their trade-in value is no longer worth the trouble of their keep, they will be dispensed with. And these numbers do not include the many thousands of children who are abducted as part of marital disputes, or the thousands of women victims of bride kidnapping.

The ransom profits are enormous – and growing. Police in Nigeria estimate that ransoms paid there between 2006 and 2008 exceeded $100m. Al-Qa’ida in West Africa alone makes millions taking hostages. What was once an activity undertaken mainly by insurgents and guerrillas keen to make a political point, or acquire a human bargaining chip, is becoming increasingly commercialised. These days, most hostages are taken for ransom, with sums as high as $1.6m paid for their safe return.

And so has grown up a whole industry to counteract the criminals: firms offering kidnap and ransom insurance, highly paid negotiators, lawyers, and security personnel. Today, after an investigation prompted by Anthony Grey, the Reuters journalist who was held hostage in China for 27 months in the 1960s, we reveal the extraordinary extent of one of the 21st century’s least welcome success stories – the hostage industry, worth at least £1bn a year.

Please read the entire story here

October 16, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Pakistan, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment