Devex quotes Africa Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Rudolph Atallah on risks facing international aid workers:

Yet another major problem is what to do to help free the captives in hostage situations. Using force is not always an effective deterrent, said Rudolph Atallah, who runs a U.S. security consulting firm and has negotiated with Somali pirates for American hostages.

“It depends on the kidnappers,” Atallah said. “Hostages are like a commodity to the kidnappers. They want to safeguard them to make money in an exchange.”

But in rare cases, he pointed out, kidnappers will kill hostages if threatened. In the five cases he’s been involved in, Atallah said a ransom payment was never made, although there have been successful rescues.

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