Continued from yesterday
DO NOT DISCUSS FINANCIAL ISSUES CARELESSLY IN PUBLIC
Try to avoid phone calls that involve discussing money especially huge sums in public places. When you discuss huge amounts of money in public, you send signals to people around including kidnappers.
DO PROPER CHECKS BEFORE EMPLOYING WORKERS
Before you employ your new house keeper, driver or any other employee; do a proper background check about that person. Know their family members and let the intended employee provide the name of a guarantor that can stand in for him or her in case of any eventuality.
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS
To avoid living close to a potential kidnapper, get acquainted with those living in your immediate environment. Find out details such as, the identities of those in your neighbourhood, their acquaintances and job description. Neighbourhood association should also be encouraged.
KEEP EMERGENCY NUMBERS
It is important to keep emergency contacts; like numbers of security operatives or agencies that can promptly respond to distress calls whenever you sense you are being monitored by strangers or you notice any strange activities around you.
Foreigners coming into the country, especially volatile areas should seek adequate security advice and necessary protection (where applicable) to insulate them against kidnappers.
ALWAYS KEEPYOUR PHONE WITH YOU
Keeping your phone with you at all times is very important as it can be a source of help when there is a threat of kidnap.
COPING TIPS FOR HOSTAGE
In case you are kidnapped: try to stay calm; it is not the end of the world. Decide who to nominate as a point of contact (as much as possible, avoid nominating celebrity and renown/wealthy persons); keep track of every information about the incident for easy share with the selected contact and members of the family.
Do not provoke the kidnappers; your life is at stake; and be sensitive to your environment as the knowledge while being held may become useful later.
COPING TIPS FOR RELTIONS
In case a member of your family or relation is kidnapped, stay calm and remain stable; make immediate verbal report and follow-up with written report of the incident. Be honest about your concerns with security officials.
Cooperate with security officials, especially in sharing useful information at your disposal with them; they have experience and expertise that could help save the victim’s life. In case you are contacted by kidnappers, enquire to know if the victim is alive. This is to avoid negotiating for dead hostage(s).
Remember the life of your loved one(s) is at stake; do not use provocative or abusive language against the criminals during negotiations. Do not give details about the case and investigation to everyone; there may be an insider agent.
SUPPORTING RELATIVES OF HOSTAGE
It is vital that the family get the right support, both from specialists and also from close relatives and cronies.
Relatives of victims might be reluctant to ask for support while the hostage is being held, but it is essential that they get both financial and emotional support. This is because; constant worries by victim’s loved ones may result in dire health situations.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM SECURITY AGENCIES?
Since each case is different response standard is not fixed. However, Security agencies would most likely observe the following: Assign a Case Officer to work with the closest relation of the hostage(s) to manage the crisis. Handle the case professionally to avoid divulging sensitive information to possible insider agents, especially among family and friends. Where expedient, refer hostage’s family members to experts such as psychologists, psychiatrists, media experts, lawyers, financial advisors, forensic scientists among others.
INFORMATION REQUI REM ENT OF THE DSS
Details of the hostage, who include names, date of birth, description (height, complexion, mannerism, disability etc.) place, date and time of incident; recent photograph of the hostage; hostage’s nationality; and health status of hostage(s).
HANDLING OFSOCIALMEDIA ACCOUNTS
You need to think carefully about using social media during a kidnap. As soon as you learn about the kidnap incident, consider closing the social media account of the hostage and immediate family members.
At the very least, reset privacy settings to limit the number of people that can get access to photos and comments on these accounts.
Families have also been victims of cyber bullying on social media. This can be very disturbing. It is therefore advised that due to the overwhelming information and rumours pouring out on social media, you might give yourself “time out” from the internet and social media each day.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
Keep a family or personal diary; this will help you to put your thoughts together.
Work closely with the negotiator(s) and other security agents/agencies.
DSS strongly advises against bringing victim’s relations from other countries into Nigeria where the victim is held, unless you are advised to do so by those handling the negotiations. This is to avoid dangers associated with such movement.
SHOULD I PAY RANSOM?
DSS recognizes that, decision on payment of ransom can be very difficult for a family to make. The DSS has a policy of not making substantive concessions to hostage takers.
If you decide to pay a ransom, this will constitute a safety risk and logistical challenges. There is also the danger that you will be the victim of a “double dip” where a second ransom is demanded after the first has been paid.
Experience has also shown that people that give in to ransom demand quickly are prone to future attack by the same gang. Ransom payment is a so a form of empowerment to the criminal.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE HOSTAGE IS RELEASED?
Make the hostage available for debriefing by appropriate security agencies like the DSS or Police. This is important for effective investigation, and prevention of recurrence.
Take the hostage(s) for medical and psychological examinations as well as treatments where necessary. Once the hostage is at home, be patient with them while they gradually come out of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) which emanates from very stressful, frightening or distressing events.
Experts’ advice from a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) manager could also be required, especially when the hostage display some form of psychological disorder or when the hostage was sexually assaulted while being held.
There are a number of potential issues that you should look out for; the hostage may suffer extreme guilt at having to put their family through the ordeal, and the family might also feel guilty for having to get on with life as normal throughout the crisis period.
Be patient, take life day by day and do not be disappointed if life does not return to normal in the first few weeks.
WHAT IF THE HOSTAGE IS A CHILD?
There is need for specialist support if the hostage is a child. The child should be taken to a pediatrician and child psychologists for medical investigation and care. A child’s adverse reactions may be delayed quite considerably from the time of abduction.
Children do not display the same post traumatic reactions as adults. They tend to express their distress through play and behavioral problems. This should be monitored over time. Their reactions have a tendency to be worse if the abduction was perpetrated by a trusted friend.
From the DSS handbook providing tips against kidnapping for VIPs