The international aid organization in Geneva announced on Tuesday the kidnapping of 8 Red Cross staff near the town of Fizi in South Kivu, Eastern Congo.
For extremists groups, the kidnapping of volunteers who are offering aid services has become daily news. They hit an easy target as the most of the volunteers are medics and generally people who had never experienced any kind of security training. Most of them are arriving in an unknown country having the motives to offer aid and ended finding themselves in warzone situations. They experience threats to their life, fear and some of them end murder (according to Control Risks of London only 40%of victims are released safely after payment of a ransom). Authorities estimate the number of kidnappings per year near to 8000, with Iraq being in the 1st place as the high risk zone for kidnappings leaving Mexico in 2nd place.
Extremists seems to prefer kidnapping not only locals, but foreign missions staff in order to reclaim not only money ransom but also political and in this case we have to wonder how prepared those people are when they decide to travel to a impoverished country, are they aware for the real risk facts they are dealing with? In most of cases those people are volunteers not missioneries who are payed and payed well in some case, people who are offering services to others miles away from their home.
What we would like to emphasize is the need of proper security training to people who decide to offer their services in high risk countries. For sure they cannot get through a military training but they can have short seminars to learn simple tips in how to protect themselves or how to behave in cases that a kidnap is taking place. (Tips to avoid kidnap http://bit.ly/bao0Xv )