Islamic State Identifies Norway, China Hostages

Islamic State has released the identities of a Norwegian and a Chinese hostage, held by the militant group, demanding ransoms for their exchange.

A Norwegian and a Chinese citizen, each captured and held hostage by Islamic State militants, have both been identified by the terrorist organisation. Ransoms have been demanded for their exchange.

Via an advertisement, selling the two men, in Islamic State’s latest edition of Dabiq, its online-published magazine, named the two men, alongside an undated photo of each, wearing a yellow jumpsuit, against a black background.

The Norwegian citizen was identified as Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, a 48-year-old man from Oslo, while the Chinese hostage was named as Fan Jinghui, a 50-year-old freelance consultant from Beijing.

Alongside their names and photographs, Islamic State also included detailed personal information of the two men, including their date of birth and partial home addresses, in the advertisement.

Norway, who is a member of NATO, is likely to respond in a similar manner to that of other NATO members who have been thrown into these situations.

However, China’s response has been thrust into the spotlight, as until now, they have remained cautious in the country’s outlining of plans to combat the Islamic State threat. It has resisted joining the US-led coalition, which is coordinating airstrikes in Syria, with the aim of disrupting the terrorist group.

China has extensive investment interests in the Middle East and is also heavily reliant on oil from the region.

“It’s China’s worst fear in a way,” said Mathieu Duchatel, head of the China and Global Security Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, of the kidnapping. “China’s policy has remained to avoid becoming a target, that has been the policy in Pakistan; that has been the policy in Afghanistan, towards Iraq and Syria.

Despite China’s cautious approach to Islamic State, and desire to avoid becoming a target, it has never been seen as anything less than an enemy of Islamic State, and with its increasing global wealth and influence, its citizens and diplomats are becoming increasingly lucrative targets for IS militants.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has long declared China an enemy of his self-declared caliphate for its perceived persecution of Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority in China’s far-western Xinjiang region.

While not the first time Islamic State has captured international hostages, and demand ransoms for their release, the capture of Fan Jinghui may prove to be one of the most significant, potentially drawing significant response from the world’s largest, and second-highest spending, military force.

Categories: Asia, China, Norway, World

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