ULFA-I releases second oil firm hostage
Bihar-based Ram Kumar was found along the Myanmar border in Nagaland’s Mon district
The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) on Monday released the second abducted employee of a New Delhi-based private oil exploration firm along the India-Myanmar border in Nagaland’s Mon district.
The Bihar-based Ram Kumar, 35, was released at an undisclosed location two days after his Assam-based co-worker Pranab Kumar Gogoi, 51, was set free near the border in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh miles to the northeast.
Mr. Kumar was engaged as a radio operator and Mr. Gogoi as drilling superintendent by the Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited. The ULFA-I members had abducted them from the Kumchaika drilling site in Changlang district on December 21, 2020.
Thavaseelan K., Mon’s Deputy Commissioner, confirmed Mr. Kumar’s release near the international border. The personnel of the paramilitary Assam Rifles took him into custody.
An Assam Rifles patrol team had on April 3 found Mr. Gogoi at Longvi village near the border in Changlang district. He told the interrogators that he had no idea where he was being kept or being moved by his captors.
“What we learnt is that the two hostages were kept in separate locations after two months together in captivity,” Changlang’s SP Mihin Gambo said.
The ULFA-I had sought a ransom of ₹20 crore from the oil firm for the release of its two employees and had set February 16 as the deadline for payment. Its commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah threatened to take the “ultimate step” against the hostages after the firm declined to pay the ransom.
A backlash from intellectuals and common people in Assam made the ULFA-I tone down its death threat and set Quippo a new condition for their release — the creation of 5,000 jobs for Assamese youth.