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Author plans book on Sipadan kidnappings
Published on: Thursday, November 08, 2018

SHARJAH (United Arab Emirates): The best selling author of two books on kidnapping plans to write a novel based on the trans-border Filipino Abu Sayyaf kidnaps.

K.J. Howe said her motivation for weaving her plots around actual incidents worldwide is to both bring to the fore a problem that is becoming rampant as well as to educate people about travel safety.

"If I can prevent even one kidnapping then it has been worthwhile," Howe told Daily Express at the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair.

Howe said she is so passionate about the subject that she has her own advisory map to warn would-be travellers where not to spend their vacation at kjhowe.com.

Howe's two books are titled "Freedom Broker" and "Skywalker".


Her books take readers on an adventure to different countries, especially places she had spent time in like Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

"What I try to do is tackle the different forms of kidnapping in each novel in different locales."

A former journalist specialising in medical writing, she felt inspired after researching the topic for six years.

Howe said the fact that 40,000 kidnappings were reported across the globe shows the gravity of the problem, although thankfully 90pc of hostages do come home safely.


Howe said it is sad that what was often an activity of desperation to put food on the table, even terrories have turned to kidnapping as a way of fundraising their organisations as in the case of the IS-backed Abu Sayyaf.

Some 20 kidnappings have occurred in Sabah beginning with the taking of some 20 foreign touriats and locals in Pulau Sipadan in 2000 by Abu Sayyaf. Some of the women hostages were reportedly raped by the militants.

However, there has been near total elimination of incidents by Abu Sayyaf with the stationing of personnel by Esscom, an added security mechanism and a sea curfew.

The Abu Sayyaf kidnappings have included beheadings of hostages. Although officially no payment had been made, the unofficial account differs.


She cautioned that no money should be placed in the hands of kidnappers without negotiations as they might say "thank you very much for the downpayment. Now let's talk about the ransom".

She also said the rise in kidnappings has created a new breed of people referred to as kidnap negotiators. They go undercover and risk their lives to bring home the hostage. - James Sarda

Photo Source: K.J Howe Twitter Page

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