Tinsukia: Three workers of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) have been allegedly kidnapped by a suspected extremist group from Romonia workover rig inside Lakuwa tea estate under Simalguri police station of Assam‘s Sivasagar district around 3 am on Wednesday.
The abducted youths have been identified as Retul Saikia, Alakesh Saikia and Mohini Mohan Gogoi.
The development came days after banned outfit ULFA-I released two employees of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited after having abducted them from Arunachal’s Changlang district on December 21.
Talking to this correspondent, Sivasagar SP Amitava Sinha said that the kidnapping of three young officials of ONGCL was reported to us at 5.30 am. “According to preliminary investigation, a group of five armed militants are involved in the abduction.”
All security forces deployed in the region and Nagaland have been alerted and massive search operations are underway, added Sinha.
A source said that all exit points leading to Nagaland are being tapped. “It is suspected that the militants would use the route of Mon district in Nagaland to take the abductees to Myanmar. Assam Rifles has been alerted in Nagaland,” the source said, adding, “ULFA-I has informed ONGC authorities that they are behind the abduction.”
Earlier, ULFA-I is said to have released Quippo employees after hectic rounds of negotiations for ransom money. Initially, ULFA-I had demanded Rs 20 crore but it is not clear if any amount was paid to the outfit to secure their release.
Talking to this correspondent, ONGC spokesperson Jamil Passa said that the abducted employees include two junior engineers, Retul Saikia and Mohini Mohan Gogoi, and a junior technician Alakesh Saikia — all from the production department.
“They were taken away in one of our ambulances,” Passa said, adding, “The management has reached out to the victims’ families staying at ONGC Colony in Sivasagar.” We have lodged a police complaint, he added.
Meanwhile, the ambulance has been found abandoned near the Nimonagarh jungle close to the Assam-Nagaland border.
Lakuwa Tea Estate, where the kidnapping took place, borders Nagaland and Charaideo district of Assam.