Terra Firma Risk Management were recently mentioned in a BBC News article entitled “Nigeria abductions: How do you negotiate with Boko Haram?“, which included the following passage:
British risk consultancy firm TerraFirma has been involved in lengthy hostage negotiations in Nigeria on behalf of commercial companies.
According to one of their executives, who asked not to be named, the next most important thing to establish is “proof of ownership”.
That means making absolutely certain that the people you are talking to are the ones actually holding the hostages.
In the murky world of kidnap and ransom, there will be plenty of people looking to make some money out of putting themselves forward as intermediaries “with connections”.
A third ground rule in the hostage negotiator’s metaphorical handbook is to never lose your temper.
“The kidnappers will often lose theirs,” says one expert.
“Or at least they will pretend to, to put pressure on you to give in to their demands. But you must never lose yours, for fear you will prompt them to take drastic action.”