Malaysia in US list of countries with risk of kidnapping, hostage taking

The US State Department has released a list of 35 countries it says pose a risk to its citizens. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: The US government has included Malaysia in its list of 35 countries with the risk of kidnapping and hostage taking.

Malaysia is given the “K” label to indicate it is a “high-threat” country, alongside a list of mostly African and Middle Eastern countries.

CNN quotes the US State Department as saying that the list will “communicate more clearly to US citizens the risks of kidnapping and hostage taking by criminal and terrorist actors around the world”.

The others in the list are Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Russian-controlled east Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.

The release of the list followed the kidnapping of American tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott and her safari guide in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. They were held captive for five days before they were rescued by security forces.