FEBRUARY 08, 2020
A 32-year-old soldier shot dead 29 people and wounded 57 others in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, located about 250 km/ 155 miles from the capital Bangkok. The attack started at around 3 p.m. local time, when the soldier opened fire at a house killing two. He then moved to an army base, where he stole weapons and shot several people. He then stopped at Buddhist temple, where he killed nine other people before driving to the Terminal 21 shopping mall shooting indiscriminately at shoppers and workers while posting live updates on his Face Book page. Security forces stormed the mall and helped hundreds of shoppers and employees to escape. Police brought his mother to the mall to persuade him to surrender, but when the efforts failed, he was shot and killed in the mall basement some 19 hours after he started his shooting spree. Based on his post on his social media page, authorities believe that the soldier carried out the attack over a financial dispute.
JANUARY 31, 2020
A U.S. contractor, Mark R. Frerichs, 55, from Lombard, Illinois, was kidnapped by Taliban-associated militants in the southeastern province of Khost, prompting a nationwide search. U.S. officials believe the kidnapping was organized by the Haqqani network; an insurgent group aligned with the Taliban. U.S. officials have been reluctant to confirm kidnappings, fearing the publicity may endanger the contractor. It was not immediately known how Frerichs was captured. Frerichs is a U.S. Navy veteran diver and the managing director of an International shipping company contracted by the U.S. government. American forces have launched a ground-and-intelligence-gathering mission over the past few days to try to locate Frerichs. The search in part has been hindered by severe winter weather, which has prevented overhead drone surveillance and made it difficult to navigate the terrain. (foxnews.com, 6 February 2020)
JANUARY 21, 2020
Four aid workers, three French citizens and an Iraqi, employed by the French Christian charity SOS Chrétiens d'Orient (Christians of the Middle East) disappeared in Baghdad and are believed to have been kidnapped. The charity, SOS Chrétiens d'Orient, said the four failed to show up for a scheduled meeting on the afternoon of January 21 and have not been heard from since. All four had prior experience in crisis zones and were staying at a hotel that regularly hosts international guests. They were in Baghdad primarily for administrative reasons, to renew visas and register the charity with the Iraqi government. The group said there have been no ransom demands. French and Iraqi authorities are cooperating in the investigation. For security reasons and to protect the men’s safety, their names have not been made public and French authorities have imposed a news blackout. The four went missing during a time of heightened tensions in Iraq after a U.S. drone strike on Baghdad airport that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a senior Iraqi militia commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The attack has drawn anger from Iraqi officials from across the political divide and lead to a non-binding parliamentary resolution to oust U.S. troops from the country. Iran-backed militia groups have also sworn to avenge the killings. (nytimes.com, 24 January 2020 & asianews.it, 25 January 2020)
JANUARY 05, 2020
At around 4 a.m. local time, Somlia based Al-Shabaab militants attacked the Manda Bay Airfield on the Manda Island in the Lamu County, which used by both Kenyan and U.S. and forces. Five militants and three Americans were killed during the four-hour long attack and two Americans were wounded. Two aircrafts, two helicopters and several military vehicles were destroyed in the attack. The militants later published pictures of its fihters holding the group's flag standing next to a burning aircraft. The attack, which marked the first Al-Shabaab on American forces in Kenya, highlights the group's growing capabilities.
NOVEMBER 29, 2019
Three people have been stabbed in an attack on a busy Hudson's Bay store at the main market square area in The Hague. Police have launched a massive search to aperhand the attacker. Three people were reportedly injured and retreated in hospital, but were later released. Police described the attacker as a person of North African descent aged between 45 and 50.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2018
The son of an Indian gold mine owner in Burkina Faso, who was kidnapped by unidentified assailants in 2018, has been released. Kimar Akoliya, whose father Akoliya Patel owns the Ghana-based Balaji mining group, was on his way to the capital, Ouagadougou, from the remote Inata mine with two colleagues when they were kidnapped. His colleagues, a Burkinabe and a South African, had been freed and their faith is currently unknown, though according to some reports, the South African national has died while in captivity. It is believed that Akoliya’s was release following a ransom payment. (reuters.com, 20 January 2020)
Talking to reporters the wife of a South African national who was kidnapped in Burkina Faso 10 months earlier, said that she received a text massage from Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the South African humanitarian Gift of the Givers organization on July 27 saying that her 53-year-old husband had died on June 19. Her husband working at the Inata Mine was kidnapped on 23 September 2018 along with the mine manager's son and a driver, while on their way to a nearby town to buy supplies. According to the woman, Sooliman said that he received word from two extremely reliable West African contacts that Christo had died under unknown circumstances. Gift of the Givers will be sending a negotiator to the contacts in an attempt to get more information, and for evidence of Christo's death. (news24.com, 30 July 2019)
At around 0800 local time, a South African executive, an Indian technician and their Burkinabe driver were kidnapped by suspected jihadist militants while traveling between the Inata gold mine and the town of Djibo, located near the border with Mali and Niger on their way to the capital, Ouagadougou. Their vehicle was later sighted moving toward the Malian border. (nation.co.ke, 24 Sep 2018)