14 held for abduction of 3 ONGC employees in Assam, ULFA-I role confirmed
The police in Assam’s Sivasagar arrested 14 people on Thursday in connection with the abduction of three employees of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
Police officials confirmed the role of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) in the abductions. Search operations are underway in neighbouring Nagaland where the abducted persons are believed to have been kept.
“Till Thursday evening we have arrested 14 people on suspicion of their involvement in the abductions. Further investigations are underway,” said Amitabh Sinha, superintendent of police, Sivasagar.
The three employees were abducted from a work over rig site inside the Lakwa tea estate in the early hours of Wednesday. The abducted employees are Ritul Saikia, Mohini Mohan Gogoi (both junior engineer assistants) and Alakesh Saikia (junior technician)—all of them belong to Assam.
According to the police, 5 armed persons came to the rig site in an ONGC ambulance and abducted the 3 employees at gunpoint. The ambulance was recovered later close to the Assam-Nagaland border, around 11 km away.
“It is now confirmed that ULFA-I was responsible for the abductions. The police are not yet aware of any ransom demand made by the outfit for the release of the abducted persons,” said Singha.
“We suspect the abducted persons were taken to Nagaland. A search operation with involvement of different agencies is underway at present in Nagaland to rescue the ONGC employees,” he added.