Imphal: In yet another incidence of swift and timely action by the Assam Rifles, together with help from locals, four persons who were reportedly kidnapped by the proscribed NSCN-K outfit, were rescued from the Indo-Myanmar border late on Wednesday night.
The four persons – identified as Thumlan Vashum of New Tusom, NK Thanreimi of Chingai, RS Pamshang and R Canaan of Poi village from the Ukhrul district – were allegedly kidnapped by the Khaplang outfit from Zlanglailawui area near between Tusom and Challou near the international border pillar no. 128 and 129 on March 25.
The village authorities of Tusom, along with the commanding officer of 27 Assam Rifles Rippon Bora, as well as media persons from the Ukhrul district received the rescued persons near the Indo-Myanmar border at about 8 pm on March 31.
After seven days of been kept as hostages, the four labourers were released from the NSCN-K camp in New Kongkailong in Myanmar.
This is, however, not the first such incident where locals living along the border were abruptly kidnapped while working along the cross-border area by the outfit.
Last year, two persons – a driver and a handyman of bulldozer engaged in the construction of an approach road with Tusom – were abducted from the international border and later released after paying a massive ransom amount demanded by the outfit.
Speaking to media persons, the headman of Tusom Shangmayo Vashum said: “We don’t have any issues with our cross-border trade with Somrah. We visited Somrah Khullen twice when this incident was reported. We couldn’t meet the leaders or cadres of Khaplang (NSCN-K) but we met the Somrah Council consisting of three chairmen and four members. They assured us during our meeting on March 27 that they will ensure the safe release of the four abducted persons at the earliest.”
This kind of unwanted activity can sour the peaceful relationship that has existed for a long time between the two border villages, added Vashum.
Tusom is one of the last villages on the northern side of the Ukhrul district bordering Myanmar and only 15 km from Somrah Khullen in Myanmar.
As per reports, Thangpa Lepoh of Somrah Khullen had filed a case in the year 2003-2006 at Ato Longphang and Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) Karot, apex bodies of the Tangkhul Naga community. In the case petition, Lepoh claimed that the land near Pillar no. 128 and 129 belonged to him.
However, in both the cases, the authority has given judgment in favour of Tusom village, it said.
In regards to the latest incident, locals suspected that the family members of Lepoh of Somrah Khullen are the mastermind behind the kidnapping and abduction of the four persons and demand for ransom and incited to the outfit.
Meanwhile, the report also stated that the Khaplang outfit in its official statement claimed that the four persons were arrested due to the unsettled and disputed case between Shangmayo Vashum, headman of Tusom and Thangpa Lepoh of Somrah Khullen.
A total of Rs 1 lakh was paid to the outfit for the release of the four abducted persons and another Rs 2 lakh will be paid to the armed group on or before April 7, the report said.