U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, David Cohen, was in Europe this week warning government agencies against the increase in kidnappings for ransom by terrorist organizations (listed entities). In the past decade, al Qaeda is estimated to have received ransom payments of US$120 million from kidnappings that occurred mostly in North Africa, Yemen and Mali. The average ransom payment is approximately US$5.4 million. Funds raised by ransom payments have helped terrorist organizations build capacity to continue their activities including recruiting, indoctrinating new members, paying salaries, traveling, establishing training camps and buying weapons and communications equipment.
The U.S. is recommending, as part of the anti-terrorist financing global response, that families, employers, governments, insurers and others involved in securing ransom payments, start refusing to pay kidnappers to deprive terrorists of funds to reduce their inventive to kidnap foreigners.
The Under Secretary’s remarks can be read here.