In this edition of the Global Kidnap bulletin, we look at the organised crime context in Mexico, where two US tourists were killed and two kidnapped in an apparent case of mistaken identity, analyse the record high gun fatalities in Sweden in the context of persistent gang activity, assess the travel security risks for the LGBTQIA+ community amid a spike in recent violent attacks, look into the growing threat of kidnapping in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, and explore the kidnap for ransom dynamics in Papua New Guinea following the recent kidnappings of four researchers in the country.
Travel, trafficking & trouble: Regional insecurity drives violence in Mexico’s tourism hotspots
While the US has in place travel warnings advising against travel to several areas of Mexico, the country remains a popular destination for both recreational and medical tourism. A pervasive organised crime threat, coupled with regional insecurity in other parts of central America, mean tourists in Mexico will face increasing risks from both direct and indirect targeting by cartels.
Young guns: Sweden’s problem with organised crime
Sweden’s gun fatalities are at significant odds with its Nordic neighbours. Dozens of organised criminal groups and youth gangs have embedded their presence in the country, and violent altercations between them are soaring. The government has taken firm measures to bring the violence under control, but it will take time for these steps to have a visible effect.
Targeted: Anti-LGBTQIA+ attacks highlight travel concerns
Global surveys show increasingly accepting sentiment towards the LGBTQIA+ community, but progress is uneven and slow, and a recent spate of violent attacks have put the spotlight on the targeting of LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Kidnapped in Oromia: The growing threat of the OLA
Ethiopia’s Oromia Liberation Army (OLA) has increasingly turned to kidnapping as a means to raise awareness of its secessionist ambitions, and to raise funds through ransom payments. The group claimed responsibility for at least 20 kidnappings in 2022, up from just five the previous year. While the Ethiopian military struggles to contain the OLA, kidnapping will remain a significant threat to operators in the Oromia region.
Back in the spotlight: Kidnapping threat in Papua New Guinea
Criminal groups in Papua New Guinea have been involved in several kidnapping incidents over the past decade, but the kidnapping of four researchers in the remote Mount Bosavi region in February brought the issue back into the spotlight. Various and sometimes overlapping tribal and land grievances in the country, particularly in the rural areas, coupled with challenging terrain mean that subduing or responding to kidnappings is difficult.