Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nigeria: Italian Expat, 55, Kidnapped in Niger Delta, Ransom Demand Likely

According to Reuters, an Italian expatriate, Marcello Rizzo, 55, who is employed by an Italian construction company, Gitto Costruzioni, has been reported kidnapped in the Niger delta in southern Nigeria, according to the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome.
Rizzo, from the Sicilian town of Randazzo has worked and lived in Nigeria for eight years.

COMMENT: The ransom kidnapping of foreign nationals in Nigeria is a frequent occurrence in both the north and the south of the country with Muslim extremists abducting kidnap victims in the north and professional kidnappers in the south who specialize in apolitical ransom kidnapping.

All expatriates living and working in Nigeria are cautioned concerning the possible risk of kidnapping by either Muslim extremists such as Ansaru or Boko Haram in the northern section of the country or ransom kidnapping in the south.

According to the AP, Italy's foreign ministry acknowledged that on February 16, 2013, Ansaru executed seven foreign hostages, the worst such attack on the foreign community in decades. The group killed four Lebanese, one Greek, one Italian and one Briton.

In January 2013, Ansaru declared itself a splinter group independent from Boko Haram, the north's main Islamic terrorist group.  Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege," has engaged in bombings, kidnappings and facility attacks throughout the country's Muslim north, resulting in the deaths of 792 people in 2012 alone.

Our readers in Nigeria should know that I regularly offer a three-day workshop entitled "Kidnapping and Hostage-Taking: Understanding, Prevention and Response, which is offered to groups in specific countries tailored to the the tactics and groups that target foreign nationals. For information, email me at:

The kidnapping of Mr. Rizzo will be updated as new information becomes available.