Posts Tagged hostage

Hostage Kayla Mueller Helped Many Survive and Escape ISIS Capture

From ABC News:

Four former hostages who shared cells with Mueller, speaking publicly for the first time about their shared ordeal for ABC News’ “20/20” broadcast, “The Girl Left Behind,” airing Friday, say the Prescott, Arizona, humanitarian aid worker was a courageous 25-year-old who inspired them.

Julia revealed in a “20/20” interview how Mueller — who was frequently raped by al-Baghdadi — passed up a chance at an escape in order to increase the odds for the Yazidi teens, who were able to sneak out of the ISIS kingpin’s house late one night in a flight to freedom.

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Islamic State (Daesh) Murders Another UK Hostage

From: BBC

Alan Henning

Alan Henning


A video purporting to show UK hostage Alan Henning being beheaded has been released by Islamic State militants.

The Salford taxi driver was delivering aid to Syria in December when he was kidnapped and then held hostage by IS.

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The Unspectacular, Unsophisticated Algerian Hostage Crisis

The Unspectacular, Unsophisticated Algerian Hostage Crisis is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis

The recent jihadist attack on the Tigantourine natural gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria, and the subsequent hostage situation there have prompted some knee-jerk discussions among media punditry. From these discussions came the belief that the incident was spectacular, sophisticated and above all unprecedented. A closer examination shows quite the opposite.

Indeed, very little of the incident was without precedent. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who orchestrated the attack, has employed similar tactics and a similar scale of force before, and frequently he has deployed forces far from his group’s core territory in northern Mali. Large-scale raids, often meant to take hostages, have been conducted across far expanses of the Sahel. What was unprecedented was the target. Energy and extraction sites have been attacked in the past, but never before was an Algerian natural gas facility selected for such an assault.

A closer look at the operation also reveals Belmokhtar’s true intentions. The objective of the attack was not to kill hostages but to kidnap foreign workers for ransom — an objective in keeping with many of Belmokhtar’s previous forays. But in the end, his operation was a failure. His group killed several hostages but did not destroy the facility or successfully transport hostages away from the site. He lost several men and weapons, and just as important, he appears to have also lost the millions of dollars he could have gained through ransoming his captives. Read the rest of this entry »

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Al Qaida Takes BP Facility in Algeria, Takes American Hostages

From the Washington Post:

Algerian forces have surrounded the complex and the state news agency reported a bit more than 20 people were being held, including Americans, Britons, Norwegians, French and Japanese, citing the local authorities.

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How do special forces minimize risks in hostage rescue missions?

“British aid worker Linda Norgrove may have been accidentally killed by US forces during a rescue mission in Afghanistan. It’s not the first time such a perilous task has ended tragically. So how are they planned and what are the key considerations?

Questions were already being asked as to why the operation failed, after it was initially reported that she had been killed when one of her captors detonated a suicide vest.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement that the 36-year-old Scot may have been killed by a US grenade has now put the mission under closer scrutiny.

All such missions are inherently dangerous. But how do special forces minimise the risks?

“Typically, you want to do the rescue operation as quickly as you can, with as much speed as possible because you want the captors to be confused as to how to respond.”

However, he says this is difficult because every operation is unique.

And no matter how well-planned is the operation, unexpected deviations are almost inevitable.

“You tend to have to make a lot of adjustments. You need people who are well trained at assessing situations and making spot decisions,” he added.”

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A Botched Hostage Rescue in the Philippines

A Botched Hostage Rescue in the Philippines is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Scott Stewart

On Aug. 23, Rolando Mendoza, a former senior police inspector with the Manila police department, boarded a tourist bus in downtown Manila and took control of the vehicle, holding the 25 occupants (tourists from Hong Kong and their Philippine guides) hostage. Mendoza, who was dressed in his police inspector’s uniform, was armed with an M16-type rifle and at least one handgun.

According to the police, Mendoza had been discharged from the department after being charged with extortion. Mendoza claimed the charges were fabricated and had fought a protracted administrative and legal battle in his effort to be reinstated. Apparently, Mendoza’s frustration over this process led to his plan to take the hostages. The fact that Mendoza entertained hope of regaining his police job by breaking the law and taking hostages speaks volumes about his mental state at the time of the incident.

After several hours of negotiation failed to convince Mendoza to surrender, communications broke down, Mendoza began to shoot hostages and police launched a clumsy and prolonged tactical operation to storm the bus. The operation lasted for more than an hour and left Mendoza and eight of the tourists dead at the end of a very public and protracted case of violence stemming from a workplace grievance.

Hostage-rescue operations are some of the most difficult and demanding tactical operations for police and military. To be successful, they require a great deal of training and planning and must be carefully executed. Because of this, hostage-rescue teams are among the most elite police and military units in the world. Since these teams are always training and learning, they pay close attention to operations like the one in Manila and study these operations carefully. They seek to adopt and incorporate tactics and techniques that work and learn from any mistakes that were made so they can avoid repeating them. Even in highly successful operations, there are always areas that can be improved upon and lessons that can be learned.

Indeed, in the Manila case, the events that unfolded provided a litany of lessons for hostage-rescue teams. The case will almost certainly be used in law enforcement and military classrooms across the globe for years as a textbook example of what not to do. Read the rest of this entry »

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