The African country of Algeria has adopted a new initiative with the goal of cracking down on individuals directly financing terrorism through ransom payments. Though the law was agreed upon by African officials at the beginning of February, it has only recently begun receiving international attention. The Algerian law is officially known as “Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices on Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom (KFR) by Terrorists.”
The Group of Eight on the United Nations Security Council had already adopted this Algerian memo and gave a directive to work on expanding support for the law by the international community. While discussing the adoption of the new regulations, African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism Director Ambassador Francesco Jose Madeira told reporters that 35 percent of abductions perpetrated by terrorist groups for ransom around the world occur in Africa.
Francesco went on to note that the international terrorism community has become much more bracketed since the height of al-Qaeda’s power, and the smaller groups are always on the lookout for ways to get more funding for their operations. Because they are often in control of entire areas of countries, particularly in a generally poor continent like Africa, the abundance of illegal activities such as kidnapping prove to be very lucrative for everybody involved.
The new initiative launched by Algeria is aimed at expanding the different ways the government can trap terrorists who are looking for payments in exchange for a kidnapped person. There will be a widespread crackdown on all ransoms that are paid within the country, whether the money is being funneled to terrorists or drug dealers. Algeria hopes to cut down on the links between terrorism, organized crime and kidnappers.