One of the major challenges of the globalization period is human security. From jihad to religious extremism and today terrorism, a word which have become common. Terrorists use kidnapping and hostage taking as strategic patterns to create fear, which has some challenges and manifestations both to the family and law enforcement agents engaged in combatting these menace. In some cases, hostages are killed, while in others after negotiations they are released. This report explores kidnappings perpetrated by jihadist groups. It appeals for necessary contextual review in order to understand the challenges posed by current kidnapping events.
Kidnapping and hostage-taking is a criminal strategy used by terrorist and religious extremism to inflict heavy psychological burden on family relations, and to expose challenges of human security by the state and its security machinery. The profile of those or individual abducted, generates an anxiety and fear to the community; how secured is the community? Which policing approach should be adopted? What are the reasons for the abduction (kidnapping)? And examine a proper rescue strategy.
The globalization era has change the dynamics of journalism, as news or propaganda quickly hit the stage through sensational headlines on kidnapping or hostage-taking, which can extort political and military action, and as well divert or remobilize resources or security capabilities from an important mission to a minor operation. This is usually through an incident which can be amplified due to uncertainty and complexity of an operational environment appealing to the international community from a terrorist agenda.
The 21st century, is characterized with the proliferation of terrorist organizations, militancy (religious extremism, quest for fragmentation of state due to historical precedents and internal wrangling) and religious fundamentalist ideology and patterns ‘jihadist tendencies’. Some of these tendencies include but is not limited to kidnapping and hostage taking. The number of incidents related to the above rose gradually until the early 2000s. one of the main reason for the increase in kidnappings by terrorists since 2003 is solely related to the emergence of sovereignty free actors or jihadist groups in conflict areas.
Domestic instability and conflict appear to be drivers of kidnappings. For instance, Cameroon is marked by such, torn apart by the violence between rebel groups on one side and self-defense groups on the other, not forgetting the state appealing on human security for its citizens. Some other countries experiencing instability such as Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria. In terms of human security, kidnapping is a strategic pattern for creating fear, funding criminal activities of jihadist tendencies, in regardless of other considerations; inflow of foreigners to conflict zones, whether for business, humanitarian assistance or other purposes, creates a certain measure of opportunity for its employment, which can limit this criminal pattern. As such, is important to understand how the phenomenon is changing and what that means for those charged with addressing this challenge.
Landscape of kidnapping and hostage
This report is exploring the increasing security menace in the world with focus on kidnapping and hostage taking. Following current security trends the term Kidnapping is difficult to define, but it may have many legal variations depending on the level of governance establish laws and the conditions, but it may be purposely general in scope. According to US army TRADOC, TRADOC G2 Handbook No.1.06, Kidnapping and Terror (2017) kidnapping occurs when a person, without lawful authority, physically moves another person without that other person’s consent, with the intent to use the abduction in connection with some other nefarious objective.” According to US army TRADOC, TRADOC G2 Handbook No.1.06, Kidnapping and Terror (2017), there are two major aspects to be retained in relation to kidnapping are: (1) movement or detention must be unlawful. (2) some aggravating circumstance must accompany the restraint or movement. The second incident or circumstance, perpetrators may usually request for money, an attempt to humiliate government functioning, an attempt to terrorize a third party.
In relation to global security trends, hostage-taking is usually the seizure or detention of an individual with the threat to kill, injure, or continue to detain the individual in or to compel a third-party or governmental organization to do, or to abstain from doing, an act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the individual. Using Iran embassy siege in London in the 7os, its necessary to understand the principle or core aspects of a hostage crisis; a period of captivity; a rescue, release, or recovery of the hostage; and, repatriation. Civil-military relationship is necessary in the process to recover captured, detained, evading, isolated, or missing personnel from hostile or denied areas.
The events of the 9/11 in U.S is a historic panacea in international security and diplomacy. From one continent to the other, each nation is challenge by which security measure to be adopted to combat emerging human security threats. Al Qaeda’s threats to the West have been reinforced by ISIS, Boko-Haram and Al Shabaab, which expand their sphere in Africa and others countries in the Arabian Peninsula. Below, this report will be examining the particularities of jihadist groups in relation to kidnapping and hostage taking (that is the outcome of these phenomenon).
Terrorist or jihadist groups are increasing making money or funding their activities from ransom paid by state and individuals. The payment of this ransom is a major aspect for the evolution of terrorist networks or groups, not as it helps fund their activities, but it helps pay new recruits. In 2012, David Cohen, then the U.S. Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, warned of al-Qaeda’s growing strength due to the payment of ransom to rescue individuals kidnapped. This is also similar in the Horn of Africa, ransom payments played a central role in the growth of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) (Al Shabaab).
Just as one of the prerequisite for terrorist coordinated attack is an appeal for mass casualties, kidnapping in most cases in focus on profiled individuals or foreigners in another country to create diplomatic incidents. Several discussions regarding kidnapping by non-sovereignty free actors such as terrorist organizations revolve around information about the victim: nationality. The question of the victim’s nationality usually spurs discussion about the policies and security protocols of different states when negotiating with sovereignty free actors in issues related to kidnapping. For example, French nationals kidnapping by Boko-Haram in Northern Cameroon. But is worth noting that this report does not intend to answer the question of the impact related to future negotiations after terrorist abductions and targeting. However, this report expose strategic questions to be answered by experts; Is kidnapping or hostage-taking a tactic, technique, or procedure for terrorist organizations? What are the consequences and impact of kidnapping or hostage?
Despite the creation of regional and international security organizations, the impact and challenges of human security are still enormous. Drawing from the history of AQIM the payment of ransoms sometimes leads to a generalized increase in kidnapping which affects all Westerners in a region equally, regardless of a nation’s concession policy. The protein alliance (Anglo-Americans) or United States and United Kingdom have adopted two logical policy responses. The first, which concise to reduce the overall number of kidnappings by persuading other Western countries to cooperate in refusing to pay ransoms (no negotiation with terrorist).
Meanwhile the second option is to relax the U.S. prohibition on private ransoms, so that Americans are not killed at such disproportionate rates. in certain circumstances, where some countries may continue to pay ransoms while the United States does not, terrorist groups will top the rate of kidnapping of Westerners, which will cause the life of Americans kidnapped. This option is preferable, as is likely to reduce the number of Americans killed by hostage takers, though other security protocols will be necessary to limit funding of terrorist organizations through ransom payments.
In addition to the above employers in conflict zone should review the training of their workers, and as well have predetermined kidnapping management policies. For instance; individuals sent to such zones should be brief on different security protocols in relation to any event of abduction, such as; contingent powers of attorney and predetermined passwords for email and social media accounts. These skills will be supportive to law enforcement and security forces efforts to disrupt the operations of these networks.
(The Author is the Editor of crimeandmoreworld.com)
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