Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nigerian Rebels Kidnap Child of Oil Worker

Update: The child has been released safely

A disturbing turn of events in Nigeria, where the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) have kidnapped the 9 year old son of an oil worker and killed the child's 11 year old sister as she tried to protect her little brother (via Reuters):
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead an 11-year-old Nigerian girl and abducted her 9-year-old brother as they walked to school in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt on Thursday, police said.

Their father worked for Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) in Port Harcourt, the hub of Africa's top oil and gas industry, a company spokesman said.

Violent crime has surged in the Niger Delta since militants, who claim to be fighting for a fairer share of the region's natural resources, launched a campaign of sabotage against the oil industry three years ago.

The attackers shot the girl as she tried to prevent them from dragging her brother into a car in the Rumuokwuta area of central Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state.

"A red Honda car intercepted them on the way (to school). The gunmen came out of the vehicle and grabbed the boy," said Rita Inoma-Abbey, police spokeswoman for Rivers.

"While the sister was struggling with them, she was shot. The gunmen went away with the boy. Passers-by rushed the girl to hospital but she died on the road."

Please lift up this grieving family in your prayers, and pray for the protection of this kidnapped little boy. We mourn the loss of the young girl who tried so valiantly to save her brother, sacrificing her life for him. May her sacrifice be rewarded by the safe return of the abducted child, and may the justice of both God and man be brought against the captors.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Two Hostages Escape from FARC Captivity

Two hostages, including a 14-year-old boy, held captive by FARC rebels in Colombia have escaped into freedom, along with their former captors who are now seeking amnesty. Via Latin American Herald Tribune:
BOGOTA -- Two Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas deserted Tuesday, taking two hostages, one of them a teenager, with them to freedom, a military spokesman said.

Hostages Leonardo Pardo and Alvaro Martinez were released by the two guerrillas, who belonged to the FARC's 26th Front, near the southern city of El Castillo, army 4th Division commander Gen. Luis Alfonso Zapata said.

The guerrilla group had been demanding a ransom of 6 billion pesos (some $2.7 million) for the teenager's release.

"In the morning hours of today, two freedom seekers, as we call FARC members (who demobilize), sought freedom and left the FARC's 26th Front with two young men who had been kidnapped," the general said.

The 31-year-old Pardo and the 14-year-old Martinez, who were abducted last month in the nearby town of Medellin del Ariari, reached a police checkpoint with their rebel guards at 2:00 a.m.

Over the weekend, four members of the FARC unit that held former Congressman Oscar Tulio Lizcano hostage for nearly eight years deserted.

This is wonderful news, both for the families of the hostages, and for the rebels who have chosen the path of repentence. One of the major emphases of this ministry is praying that the hearts of the wicked would be softened, and that they would restore freedom to those from whom they stolen it. Thank God for this welcome answer to prayer, and may He give many more kidnappers the strength and courage to do the right thing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Danish Ship Escapes Hijacking Attempt

Good news in the War on Piracy: a Danish cargo ship was able to evade capture after receiving help from a Russian warship patrolling the Gulf of Aden. Via the Telegraph:
A Russian warship came to the rescue of the Danish vessel after pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades at it during a 30 minute chase on the high seas off Somalia.

At least six pirates in an open skiff tried to seize the Danish-owned and Dutch-managed cargo ship, which has not been named, as it steamed through the Gulf of Aden.

Its captain took evasive action and called for help from the coalition of navies now patrolling Somali waters in a bid to curb piracy.

The Russian navy sent a warship and a helicopter, which swooped over the pirates' speedboat, forcing them to call off the assault, said Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur.

"The pirates chased the vessel for about half an hour, they fired two rocket-propelled grenades, but they pulled away when the Russians arrived," he said.

This is more evidence that the increased naval patrols near the coast of Somalia are having a positive effect. So far this year there have been 11 hijacking attempts already, but only two have been successful.

Thank God that the pirates were not able to carry out their evil plans this time. Please continue to pray for the safe release of the hostages currently being held on land and sea in Somalia, and for the safety of ships passing through this dangerous area.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two More Ships Released from Captivity

Good news continues to come from the Somali Coast: two more ships which were hijacked months ago are now free and their crews returning to their homes. The African Sanderling, with 21 crew members was captured in October, and the Karagol, with 14 crew members, was hijacked in November by pirates.

Thank God for His protection and deliverance of these hostages! And while we should rightfully rejoice over this answered prayer, we should also be reminded of our need to pray for our enemies. After the dramatic release of the crew of the Sirius Star on Friday, when five of the pirates were drowned trying to escape with the ransom payment, the hand of God's judgment was clear to see. The question is, how will the remaining pirates respond to this obvious sign: will they be called to repentance or will they harden their hearts? I am happy to see that in these two cases, they appear to have chosen the first option. Let's pray harder than ever for the remaining hostages, on land and sea, in Somalia and in all the other places in the world where men and women are being held against their will, and where pirates and kidnappers make a trade in human misery. Let's pray that both the hostages and their captors will be freed from their chains.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Freedom for Kidnapped Crewmembers, Justice for Pirates

Wonderful news from the coast of Somalia: all 25 crewmembers of the Saudi supertanker Sirius Star are safe and free after nearly two months of captivity. And the pirates who held the ship until a $3 million ransom was paid didn't have much time to enjoy their ill-gotten gains: 5 of them drowned when their getaway boat capsized in heavy waves. Via BBC:
Coalition naval forces in Bahrain said it appeared that the pirates on the Sirius Star had received a ransom payment in a container parachuted from a plane.

Reuters later reported that five of the pirates making off with the ransom money had drowned after their boat was hit by high seas.

The audacious seizure of the tanker had drawn fresh attention to the dangerous waters off Somalia's coastline.

There were more than 100 reported pirate attacks in the busy shipping lanes off eastern and northern Somalia in 2008.

An international force headed by the US is due to be established by the end of the month to tackle the problem.

On Friday, Kenya's port authorities said a fishing vessel had been attacked and three Indian crew kidnapped, Reuters reported.

Pirates are still holding a Ukrainian cargo ship, the MV Faina, which was seized in late September carrying 33 tanks and other weaponry.

Prayers of thanksgiving for the safe release of the crewmembers of the Sirius Star. Please continue to pray for the crew of the latest hijacked ship and those still being held captive.

Saudi Super Tanker Hijacked Near Coast of Kenya
Crew of MT Stolt Valour Released
Pirate Attacks Forcing Ships Out of Gulf of Aden
Somali Troops Rescue Crew of Hijacked Ship
Somali Pirates Reportedly Reduce Ransom
Record Number of Hostages Held by Pirates Last Month
Two Hijacked Ships, Crews Released by Pirates
Hostage Aboard Hijacked Ukrainian Ship Has Died
Pirates Demand $35 Million Ransom for Ukrainian Ship
Somali Pirates Seize Arms-Laden Ukrainian Ship
Somali Pirates Attack US Oil Tanker
Pirates Seize Second Greek Ship Off Somalia
Danish Nab 10 Pirates
Sarkozy Challenges World to Fight Plague of Piracy
French Couple Rescued from Pirates
Kidnapped French Couple Identified
Pirates Demand Large Ransom, Threaten to Kill French Hostages
Somali Pirates Seize French Ship
Pirates Seize Three Ships in One Day
Somali Pirates Free Two German Hostages
US, Canada to Help Protect Ships from Pirates
Aid Workers Flee Somalia
Two UN Aid Workers Freed in Somalia
Two Swedish Aid Workers Kidnapped in Somalia
UN Aid Worker Kidnapped in Somalia
Three Aid Workers Kidnapped in Somalia
Update on Somalian Aid Worker Kidnapping
Two Aid Workers Kidnapped in Somalia
Update on German Hostages Held by Pirates
The Pirates of the Somali Coast
Somali Pirates Raise Ransom Demand
Somali Pirates Demand $1 Million Ransom
Germany Debates Sending Warships After Somali Pirates
German Child Taken Hostage By Pirates Is Ill
Somali Pirates Strike Again
Somalian Warlord Accuses France of Kidnapping Pirates
Sarkozy, the Scourge of the Pirates!

Crossposted at Not Ready for my Burqua

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two Kidnapped Journalists Freed in Somalia

Jose Cendon (left), Colin Freeman (right)

Great news from Somalia: two foreign journalists kidnapped November 26 in the Puntland region of Somalia have been released unharmed. Via MSNBC:
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Two foreign journalists — a Briton and a Spaniard — were released Sunday after nearly six weeks in captivity in Somalia, officials said.

The journalists, reporter Colin Freeman of The Sunday Telegraph and freelance photographer Jose Cendon, were working on a piracy story when they were kidnapped Nov. 26.

The Sunday Telegraph's publisher confirmed the two journalists had been freed.

According to CNN, however, the two Somali journalists kidnapped along with Cendon and Freeman have not yet been released. While we thank God for this successful resolution, please continue to pray for the protection and rescue of Muktar Said and Awale Jama. And please join us at 12 noon Eastern time for our daily 15-minute prayer service at Pray for the Hostages on BlogTalk Radio.

Two More Journalists Kidnapped in Somalia
Journalist Kidnapped in Somalia Identified

Crossposted at Not Ready for my Burqua