How to survive a kidnapping
Social media has been inundated with the story of several mysterious happenings in the Wuse 2 area of Abuja. In the last week, at least 3 young adults have been declared missing by their families – Veronica Otogo, Bisola Mohammed and Damilola Oribuyaku. These are truly tragic dissappearances, and we can only hope that these people are found unharmed, and reunited with their families as soon as possible.
But while we wait and speculate, have we ever given a thought as to what we would do in – God forbid – a situation where we were about to be kidnapped. If Veronica, Bisola and Damilola could “turn back the hands of time”, do you think they would wish they did things any differently? If so, what things?
In this post, I will like to explore tactics and techniques we could use to avoid getting kidnapped. While many situations are difficult to handle, there are a number of situations which can be handled and diffused safely and effectively.
- Don’t panic. In a kidnapping situation, the first thing to do is to try to think straight and don’t panic. This sounds grim, but if you are going to die, you are going to die whether or not you panic. So it’s best to calm yourself down and give yourself a chance to escape. You probably will not die though – you are of value to kidnappers only if you are alive, so it is in they best interest that you are kept alive. Your best defense is passive cooperation. The more time passes, the better your chances of being released alive.
- Make some noise. Kidnappings can happen anywhere — in the cases above, the missing people were last seen at an ice cream place, talking to men who looked like security officials. Your best opportunity to escape is in the beginning, when you sense that something is not right. While you are in a public place, use the confusion and apprehension to draw attention to what is happening. Make a commotion, as this will alert people to the fact that there is an abduction taking place. You need to make others aware that an abduction has taken place so that the authorities are notified and the search can begin. Otherwise, it could be hours or days before your absence is reported.
- Fight dirty. At the point of the abduction, don’t just scream – fight your abductor on a prominent place. Bite and scratch your abductor if you can. If they kill you and they are a suspect, your teeth marks could be used to put them behind bars. If your abductor is male, kick his balls or grab, then squeeze and twist his nuts. Free yourself at your first opportunity.
- Shine your eye. Try to observe as much as possible to plan your escape, or provide information at a later that which could help throw your kidnapper in jail. Take note of the voices speaking around you – you might not be able to use your eyes to make a mental note of everything around you. Notice the details of the room, the sounds of activity in the building and determine the layout of the building by studying what is visible to you. Listen for sounds through walls, windows or out in the streets, and try to distinguish between smells. Note the number, names, physical description, accents, habits , and rank structure of your captors.
- Keep escape on your mind. You must never give up hope and always think of how to escape. Try to escape at the very first opportunity. Memorize the schedule of your captors, look for patterns of behavior to be used to your advantage, and identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities. Use this information to assess opportunities to escape.
I hope this is the most useless post I’ve ever written, but please. read it anyway. You might remember something someday that saves your life.
Stay safe, kids
Defence Human Resources Activity
Bob Cooke, 35-year law enforcement veteran