3 ONGC employees kidnapped in Assam
(From left) ONGC staffers Alakesh Saikia, Mohini Mohan Gogoi and Retul Saikia | PC: Facebook

Tinsukia: In a major breakthrough, personnel of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles rescued two of the three abducted employees of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) from the clutches of armed militants during an overnight operation from the the dense jungles of Mon district in Nagaland in the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. The operation was carried out in close coordination with the police of Assam and Nagaland and security agencies, officials told EastMojo.

The victims, identified as Alakesh Saikia and Mohini Mohan Gogoi, were abducted along with Retul Saikia by a group of armed militants belonging to ULFA-I from a workover rig site inside the Lakwa tea estate of Assam’s Sivasagar district on Wednesday.

Alakesh Saikia
Mohini Mohan Gogoi

According to highly-placed sources in the security agencies, based on specific inputs, columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles were launched in the jungles of Mon district in Nagaland which share border with Assam. “The troops succeeded in rescuing two of the three victims,” the sources added.

Top sources told this correspondent that a joint team of Para SF, Assam Rifles, Assam Police, Nagaland and intelligence officials were involved in the operation. “The victims were rescued from a location between Chui and Totokchiingnyu of Mon district in Nagaland. Further intensive operations are underway with drone support,” sources said.

“It was a well coordinated operation between our police, Assam police and Assam Rifles,” said T John Longkumer, DGP Nagaland adding that there was seamless sharing of critical information between the three forces.

The area from where the two abducted ONGC staffers were rescued

Longkumer said operations are underway to secure the release of the third person and militants seem to have taken advantage of the thick jungles to escape. The security forces recovered one AK-47 rifle and some other equipment, he added.

EastMojo had reported quoting sources that ULFA-I leader “SS Maj” Ganesh Lahon masterminded the entire abduction which was carried out by his team. They were heading to their camps in Myanmar via Mon in Nagaland. Assam Police had confirmed on Friday.

On Saturday, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, DGP Assam, took to twitter to thank colleagues in other security forces.

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Sources in intelligence agencies said that militants cannot afford to stay in Nimonagarh jungle in Mon district for long. Hence, they are likely to head towards the Nayan or Lahon base located in Minyakshu area in Myanmar opposite Mon. This is likely to take three to four days and will provide enough time to security forces to carry out operations.

“Accordingly, a blueprint was prepared and a massive operation was launched covering an area of around 2 km, besides tapping all possible routes leading to Myanmar,” sources added.

AK-47 rifle recovered by the security forces

Nayan is the commander of the ‘eastern command’ of ULFA-I while Lahon is the commander of the ‘Everest group’ — the operational unit of the ‘eastern command’ of ULFA-I.

The area of activities of the Everest group is primarily Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and the tri-junction of Arunachal Pradesh-Assam-Nagaland, the source added.

On Thursday, Assam police arrested 14 persons in connection with the kidnapping case for allegedly working as linkman for the banned outfit.

Earlier, ULFA-I is said to have released Quippo employees after hectic rounds of negotiations for ransom almost four months after they were abducted on December 21. Initially, ULFA-I had demanded Rs 20 crore. The kidnapping saw many twists and turns with ULFA (I) announcing to execute the abducted employees after talks with the company failed and the deadline of February 16, set by the outfit to secure release, crossed.

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