According to the British Ambassador to the United Nations, terrorist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda has made at least $105 Million between 2010 and 2013 from kidnapping hostages and releasing them for a ransom payment.
The United Nations Security Council stated that countries should not pay ransom demands in order to cut off this funding stream for Al Qaeda.
Kidnapping for ransom has been a profitable activity for Al Qaeda groups in the Middle East. Previously, it was reported that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has made up to $20 Million between 2010 to 2012 from kidnapping.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is based in Northern Africa, is estimated to have made several million dollars from ransom payments in the last ten years. In 2011, the average ransom payment made to AQIM was reported to be $5.4 Million per hostage.
Source: AFP, “Al-Qaeda groups reap $100 million in ransoms,” Google News, January 27, 2014.