Tinsukia: In multiple raids that continued throughout the day, Assam police on Thursday arrested 14 persons from various locations in Sivasagar district in connection with the abduction of three employees of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) from a rig site at Lakwa.

Confirming the development, Sivasagar SP Amitava Sinha said, “In the preliminary investigation, we found 14 people working for ULFA-I as overground workers. They were involved in carrying out various activities for the banned outfit. They were arrested for their role in those activities.”

“Of the 14, we have taken 10 persons on police remand and are interrogating them for more leads on the abduction,” Sinha said, adding that the role of ULFA-I behind the abduction has been confirmed.

On Wednesday, three employees of ONGC were abducted from a workover rig site inside the Lakwa tea estate of Sivasagar district. The abducted employees are – junior engineer assistants Retul Saikia and Mohini Mohan Gogoi and junior technician Alakesh Saikia — all of them belonging to the production department of the PSU and hailing from Assam.

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A highly-placed source in the intelligence agency told this correspondent that ULFA-I leader Ganesh Lahon masterminded the abduction and his team executed the kidnapping.

“It is very likely that the victims will be taken to camps located in Myanmar. Security agencies are tapping all possible routes leading to the country besides intensifying search operations in Mon district of Nagaland,” the source said, adding, “Various agencies in Arunachal Pradesh have also been put on alert.”

Lakwa tea estate lies along the Assam-Nagaland border.

Source said that the militants operating from Myanmar use routes at Mon in Nagaland and Longding in Arunachal Pradesh to enter and exit from this region in Assam.

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