Kidnapped as pawns to initiate talks with higher-ups says IFCD engineer

IMPHAL, August 5: One of the two IFCD engineers who were released by their alleged kidnappers late last night, has said that they were kidnapped to be used as pawns to invite the higher officials of his department for talks.

Executive Engineer Naorem Surchandra today while meeting with media persons at his residence said they were released late last night around 10:30 somewhere in Ukhrul district and reached home around 1am. He added that the kidnapping was likely carried out by a Kuki militant group which seemed to be a signatory of the Suspension of Operation with the government.

The Engineer however did not reveal the real identities of the kidnappers but added that at one of the locations where they were kept, one of the kidnappers had informed them on being asked that the house where they were held captive falls inside the operational area of the SoO signatory group KRA/KLA.

The militant cadre however did not reveal whether they were from the outfit, but did add that the seven were being kidnapped to be used as pawns to invite the higher officials of the IFCD for talks with the militant group.

The engineer also said that they were kept on the move from one location to another mainly in the hill areas; but were treated well, he added.

Recounting their kidnapping ordeal, Surchandra said that after the two engineers from Kolkata arrived in the state on August 1 around 1:20 pm, they took them to the Classic Hotel and after leaving their baggage there, left immediately for Dolaithabi Barrage site for the installation of an iron gate.

While returning back around 4pm, he said, he saw some tribal youths stopping the SE’s vehicle which was leading the way just about 400/500 meter from the Dolaithabi Barrage site.

The armed militants who had come in a white Maruti Van also stopped them, he said.

He along with his driver were made to sit in the white Maruti Van while, the two non locals were kept in the Gypsy, he said.

They proceeded towards Saikul from there, he said.

After proceeding for some hours, they reached an isolated area, where they were kept in a house for the night. On August 3, at around 7 pm when they were all staying in a room, some armed militants came inside and told them that they would have to leave the place and leave the two non local engineers there, he said.

They were also informed that the two would be released the next morning, he said.

But at around 1am past midnight, one of the militants in combat dress came and told them they were to be shifted to another place, he continued.

They were informed at around 1am yesterday that the two non-locals have been released and reached Imphal safe and sound, he continued before adding that around 6pm yesterday, they were again taken to another place on foot which would be about 3km..

They were again taken on two jeeps to another place, from where they crossed a stream and reached the Sanakeithel side of Ukhrul district where they were taken to the house of a village chief and then released, he continued.

The village chief took them in his vehicle and dropped them at Nagamapal, however to ensure that they did not call or receive any calls on their mobile phones, the chief took away their mobile batteries, he said.

On their way from Nagamapal, they met with two teams of police commandos conducting frisking but the police failed to recognize them and let them proceed, he said.

Meanwhile, L Saratchandra, driver of IFCD Dept, one of the seven persons allegedly abducted by unidentified miscreants on August 1 while returning from a site inspection at Dolaithabi is still clueless on why the abduction took place.

According to him, after they were allegedly abducted by the kidnappers numbering around seven cadres, and all of the seven kidnapped persons were kept at an undisclosed place in Saikul. The abducted persons had to walk by foot up and down hills as the location in which they were held hostage kept changing four times.

However, they were not ill-treated and given warm accommodation in the places they were kept with adequate meals, blankets, clothes, snacks and other needful items.

After they were held hostages for four days, finally all the seven were released with the two officials of a private firm based in Kolkata being released first on August 4 around 7.30 am.

Later, the remaining five others i.e the two engineers and two drivers of IFCD along with a local contracter were reportedly escorted by the abducters in jeeps upto Mahadeva Lamkhai along the Imphal-Ukhrul road. They were again shifted to another vehicle believed to be hired by the kidnappers. Then, the vehicle dropped the five persons and finally reached their respective home places around 1-1.30 am of August 5.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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