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Botched bid makes rescue more difficult

delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2008 02:18 IST
Nilova Roy Chaudhury
Nilova Roy Chaudhury
Hindustan Times
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It’s been a month since four Indians working with Petro Energy Contracting Services, an Indian firm registered in Khartoum in Sudan that provides basic services to oil companies, were abducted in that country. Two of them were lucky to escape to safety. But the fate of the other two appears grim.

On May 30, Sudanese security forces made an “amateurish attempt” to storm the abductors’ hideout, sources told HT. As a result, the heavily armed kidnappers fled deep into the forests of southern Sudan near Heglig along with the four Indian hostages and their Sudanese driver. Later that night, two of the Indians, Mohammed Adeeb Shaikh and Biplab Biswas, escaped.

Shaikh emerged from the forest on June 4, but Biswas is still missing, presumed lost. On Saturday (June 8), another of the kidnapped Indians, Surjeet Singh, returned to the company’s base camp, after wandering for days in the jungle, eating wild fruit. The fate of the fourth Indian, PK Abhilash and the driver is unknown.

The Sudanese government has not yet permitted the Indian ambassador to visit the site, citing security problems. According to sources, since the failed “rescue” attempt, Sudanese authorities have no information on where the kidnappers are, neither do they have any contact with them, despite their assurances to the Indian government that negotiations are on.