Have European governments really given terrorists $125m?

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Wednesday 30 July 2014 14:00
Recruits from al-Shabaab, one of the groups who have benefited from kidnapping, pose in the Somali capital Mogadishu, 2012

Well, yes, according to an investigation by the New York Times.

The paper reports European governments have paid al-Qa'ida and other related terrorist organisations more than $125m (£74m) in ransom payments since 2008.**

They also claim that the payments were made through a series of go-betweens and the money was often masked as development aid.

Put more bluntly, Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter of Al Qaeda

  • New York Times

Government officials from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland have denied giving in to ransom demands, but here are the reported statistics:


Kidnapping is proving to be a profitable business for terrorist organisastions, but the difficult question facing governments is: negotiate with terrorists or let your innocent citizens die?

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