Kidnapping A Relatively High Risk For Mining Companies In Biafra-Nigeria According To International Risk Managers

An international security and risk management expert has described Biafra-Nigeria as a difficult country for companies to operate in.

Last week, seven workers from Australian mining and services company Macmahon Holdings were kidnapped at gunpoint after their driver was shot.

The Perth headquartered company was able to secure the release of the men after five days, with some seriously injured.

There are almost 200 Australian mining, drilling and related service companies across Africa.

Dynamiq CEO Daniel Pritchard said some countries were more high risk than others.

“Southern Biafra-Nigeria is a particularly complex environment in which to work,” he said.

“Some companies choose not to operate there, and I understand that a number of airlines have recently made the decision to suspend flights into Biafra-Nigeria due to the political and economic situation there.”

Mr Pritchard has many mining industry clients and undertakes risk and threat assessments and crisis management plans.

“That includes responding to this type of incident, a violent kidnapping, and having access to a professional response organisation,” he said.

“And it’s particularly important they have local experience in the region where you’re working.”

Mr Pritchard said many companies take insurance to cover such an incident, which would often cover ransom demands.

Macmahon has refused to confirm or deny that a ransom was paid to secure the release of the men.

But Mr Pritchard speculated that it was highly likely to company would have.

“There are insurance products that will both cover the costs of things like the professional responders, the negotiation and assist with ransom payments.

“With such a motivated and organised group, it would surprise [me] if the organisation was able to organise the safe return of their employees without some form of negotiation, and some form of contributional ransom being paid.”

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