Ghana's quick rescue of 2 Canadian women not common – Former ambassador

Lauren Tilley, left, and Bailey Chitty
Lauren Tilley, left, and Bailey Chitty

A former Canadian ambassador has described as uncommon, Ghana’s efforts to rescue the two Canadian women who were kidnapped in Kumasi last week.

Gar Pardy, who has been involved with more than 100 kidnapping negotiations around the world, says the two University of New Brunswick students are "extremely fortunate" that the security agencies in Ghana rescued them when they did.

"These kidnappings can go on for weeks, months and years even, in some cases," said Mr Pardy, who was also Canada's director-general of consular affairs for 11 years.

Lauren Tilley, 19, of Rothesay and Bailey Chitty, 20 , of Amherst, N.S., were volunteering with the non-governmental organization, Youth Challenge International, known as YCI, when they were abducted at the Kumasi Royal Golf Club on June 4.

Eight days later, the two women were rescued during a police raid.

"That was just unbelievably good," he said. "It doesn't happen very often in these kinds of situations," Mr Pardy told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Gar Pardy, former foreign affairs department director-general of consular affairs

Canada doesn't pay ransom

According to Mr Pardy, travellers are kidnapped for either political or criminal purposes — and always involve a request for ransom.

The people who abducted the two UNB students, didn't ask for a ransom, but Pardy said it was just a matter of time. 

"There would've been a ransom," he said.

Although the government of Canada will not pay ransom, Pardy said some countries do, including Germany, Italy, the United States, South Korea. 

Pardy said there have been cases where countries with a policy of paying ransom have paid millions of dollars to get victims back, particularly when they have been held for a long period of time.

"The policy itself is not effective in terms of preventing kidnapping or even resolving kidnappings," he said.

Meanwhile, Lauren and Bailey have arrived safely in Canada.
They left Ghana last Wednesday evening aboard British Airways flight BA78 to Heathrow Airport in London, the United Kingdom.

- With additional files from