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  #76  
Old 19 Dec 2009
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Latest incident - Italian Couple

Italian couple kidnapped in Mauritania - report Swissinfo

A diplomat in Mauritania told Reuters the incident seemed "more and more" like a kidnapping but it was not clear who was responsible. Malian security forces ...

Italian couple kidnapped in Mauritania - report - swissinfo

Looks like local gangs may be starting to jump on the band wagon

Worth monitoring

Nick
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  #77  
Old 19 Dec 2009
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Yes, near Kubanni. Just north of the border, south of Ayoun. Chris wrote Aime msira - is that the border station on the Mauri side?
One would like the kidnappings to follow a pattern. If they are random then how could one steer clear? This is the second kidnapping in Mauri in one month, both on major roads.
There is obviously no real protection to be had.
We don't know much about what is happening, it is mostly guesswork.
Who are the kidnappers? Are they zealots driven ideologically or just contractors in it for the money? Locals or are they coming from NE Mali? Are they waiting in ambush for someone worth their while or are these attacks planned long in advance? Are there many different groups? etc.
Don't drive alone and don't drive at night.
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  #78  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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'Aime Msira' was my interpretation of Google Maps' spelling of "... department of Kobeni Mauritania, near the town of N'Eissira..." quoted in the original Le Monde report.
Aime Msira looks like a Mauritanian village/border post on the Mali border and south of 'Kubanni' (as Google spell it) on the road from Ayoun.
I can't guarantee it's correct at this early stage.

Ch
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  #79  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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Update 3:
UPDATE 3-Italian couple kidnapped in Mauritania -Italian TV | Reuters
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  #80  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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Quote:
One would like the kidnappings to follow a pattern. If they are random then how could one steer clear? This is the second kidnapping in Mauri in one month, both on major roads.
There does seem to be a pattern of sorts : relatively busy roads, darkness, random targets. Although the two attacks are, what 1,000 km apart?

From an operational pov, I can imagine it is easier to plan a timed raid on a tarred road with regular and frequent Western traffic than to sit vulnerable and exposed on a desert track for a week hoping someone will turn up.

I think AQIM struck here (and way out West on the coastal road) simply because they knew they could rock up, wait a short while, bag foreigners and get out quick. I doubt any of the victims were targeted specifically, more a case of wrong place, wrong time.
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  #81  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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Italy confirms couple kidnapped in Mauritania

Italy confirms couple kidnapped in Mauritania | News by Country | Reuters
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  #82  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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The Italians

When I read the last Richard K speculation doubting the woman, a native of Burkina Faso, or some other African country, and the Italian man were targeted, I wonder if the agenda of the couple was in opposition, competition or "seemingly" in bed with the abductors.

Common sense dictates that anyone traveling at night in the area where they were taken (very close to a "camp?") might have well been with a specific agenda. The tourism agenda seems unlikely, at least by my standards, after official and world press descriptions of recent hostage takings in the region.

I would speculate, that she with language fluency needed and he perhaps with negotiating authority might have been attempting some kind of a deal the nature of which I will leave open to the speculation of others.

They might have been involved in some stage of a rescue attempt themselves. I agree with Ronnie79 that hostage taking in the region is well planned, I would add the possibility of a network of "eyes" reporting to some form of central command (camp?).

The abundance of gunfire, (the reported sound of gunfire and the "bullet ridden" vehicle,) might indicate the couple, and/or the driver, were armed.

Eat, Drink and Be Careful xfiltrate

Last edited by xfiltrate; 20 Dec 2009 at 15:45.
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  #83  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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from Reuters UPD 3: ... and the al Qaeda bases are just a few kilometres, as the bird flies, from where the seizure took place..."

I would be interested to hear more about this apparently well-known AQ camp. If it's been there a while it's a wonder travellers have not been attacked before.
This is hardly a remote corner of Mauritania, I imagine many readers here have taken this route into Mali.

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  #84  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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Damn, sorry to read this latest ...

Here’s a question.

How would you assess the risk of a motorcyclist(s) being kidnapped, vs. travelers in a 4 wheel vehicle?

I have a sense that bad guys tend to leave riders alone. I couldn’t pinpoint why, but that’s my sense from personal experience and following ride reports here and elsewhere for a number of years. Maybe I’ve missed some reports but the only motorcyclist I can recall having been kidnapped is Heggstad in Colombia a number of years ago.

Yes there may be fewer riders than 4 wheel travelers but still … any thoughts?
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Old 20 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ride Far View Post
I have a sense that bad guys tend to leave riders alone. I couldn’t pinpoint why, but that’s my sense from personal experience and following ride reports here and elsewhere for a number of years.
Unless you or someone else can come with a convincing rationale, I think this is just wishful thinking, and not something I would bet my life on...

On the other hand, maybe it is because most of the attacks seem to happen at night, and most riders do not ride at night in these areas?
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  #86  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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Hi Ride Far,
as far as I remember, at least four of the persons kidnapped 2003 in Algeria were on a motor bike.

Concerning other theories about kidnappings only on main roads, were the two Austrians 2008 (maybe Tunesia) on a main road? What about the swiss couple in Mali/Niger this year. I also remember some news about AQM men going into a village near Ouadane this year, asking for Europeans ....
I'm not sure you can exclude certain persons, roads or times by theory.
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  #87  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
from Reuters UPD 3: ... and the al Qaeda bases are just a few kilometres, as the bird flies, from where the seizure took place..."

I would be interested to hear more about this apparently well-known AQ camp. If it's been there a while it's a wonder travellers have not been attacked before.
Reuter's error surely. A few >hundred< kilometres perhaps? Otherwise, presuming the attack location is pinned, both sets of border posts would be a little too neighbourly.
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  #88  
Old 20 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
from Reuters UPD 3: ... and the al Qaeda bases are just a few kilometres, as the bird flies, from where the seizure took place..."

I would be interested to hear more about this apparently well-known AQ camp. If it's been there a while it's a wonder travellers have not been attacked before.
This is hardly a remote corner of Mauritania, I imagine many readers here have taken this route into Mali.
Ch
This must be a mistake in translation, "as the bird flies" meaning in the same desert perhaps, not a few miles away.
I doubt very much that Aqim has "known camps" anywhere in the desert. or they would be under attack, no?
Certainly not near this road where there's a lot of traffic going to Bamako and beyond.
We're now contemplating going Kiffa-Kayes instead of Ayoun - Nioro. Whaddyall think?

If besides Algeria 2003 no biker was ever kidnapped in Africa, why why why worry? If you're a biker.

Last edited by priffe; 21 Dec 2009 at 00:24.
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  #89  
Old 21 Dec 2009
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Some more details
Italy Working to Free Citizens Kidnapped in Mauritania | Africa | English
"Italy's foreign ministry says it is working through all political and diplomatic channels to secure the release of Sergio Cicala and his wife Philomene Kabouree.
...
In this latest apparent kidnapping, Cicala's daughter Alexia told Italian television that her father and his second wife live in Sicily and were traveling to Burkina Faso to visit Kabouree's 12-year-old son. Cicala urged Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini to move quickly to establish contact with the kidnappers.
A foreign ministry statement is calling for media discretion "to guarantee the safety of the hostages.""
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  #90  
Old 21 Dec 2009
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Hello,

that writes El Pais today:
Quote:
The kidnappers of the three Spanish aid workers imminently pose in a video with their complaints, which are basically money, but also include the release of certain prisoners in jails in Mauritania.
Such requests would have reached the Government.
According to a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Executive is making arrangements for the release of the Spanish "at different levels.
Al Qaeda del Magreb se financia con los secuestros y el tráfico de drogas · ELPAÍS.com

Gogoonisch

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Ulrich
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