According to a UN expert, ransoming has become “the core al Qaeda tactic for generating revenue,” and last year, made $120 million solely by kidnapping hostages.
The lion’s share of the ransoms come from ISIS, the current terrorist group du jour, who made up to $45 million through ransoming hostages, said Yotsna Lalji during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee. But despite their prominence and dramatically-staged killings, they still made less from ransoming than other terrorist groups: al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates in North Africa, “received $75 million over the past four years,” the AP reports. Nevertheless, the tactic of kidnapping westerners has become increasingly common, with al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri encouraging militants to keep doing so.
While many Western countries such as the United States explicitly refuse to pay ransom money — a controversial position which many blame for the deaths of citizens at the hands of terrorists — ” the vast majority of victims are nationals kidnapped within their own country,” the committee says.
(Hey, money for tanks and guns and placating the people with health insurance has to come from somewhere.)
[h/t The Daily Beast]
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