UNSC: Terrorist kidnappings for ransom increase

United Nations: The UN Security Council has warned of the "changing nature and character" of international terrorism, with terror groups increasingly coordinating with organised crime and resorting to kidnapping for ransom to finance their activities.

The council also expressed concern on Friday about the growing use of the internet and new communications technologies to recruit, incite, finance and prepare terrorist activities, according to a presidential statement approved by all 15 council members after an open meeting on fighting terrorism.

US Ambassador Susan Rice said the meeting was especially timely, coming a year after the death of Osama bin Laden. "His death was an important milestone in the fight against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, but it did not remove the scourge of terrorism from our world," she said.

"Though al-Qaida has experienced major setbacks, its affiliates and other violent extremist groups continue to operate and pose significant threats." She said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has expanded its reach in Yemen and is looking to launch attacks abroad, while al-Shabab militants in Somalia continue to destabilise the Horn of Africa and militants from the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram perpetrate widespread attacks in Nigeria including against UN personnel.

Rice noted that some terrorist groups have become "criminal enterprises in their own right" like al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in northwest Africa which "has created an environment of fear and instability by adopting, kidnapping for ransom to finance its terrorist operations."

The Security Council statement warned of an increase in some parts of the world of "incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking by terrorist groups with the aim of raising funds or gaining political concessions."

It noted "the changing nature and character of terrorism, with continuing terrorist attacks around the world" and expressed "concern regarding the increasing connection, in many cases, between terrorism and transnational organised crime." At the meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "terrorist organisations continue to look for new havens, adopt new tactics and seek new targets."