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Abducted Indians in Nigeria may be freed

The two engineers' Indonesian employers say they have begun paying the ransom in installments, reports Rahul Karmakar.
Hindustan Times | By Rahul Karmakar, Guwahati
UPDATED ON MAY 21, 2007 03:19 PM IST

Debashis Kakoty and Sunil Dave, the two Indian engineers abducted by armed militants in Nigeria, could be freed on Monday with their Indonesian employers having started paying their ransom in installments. This has been conveyed to Debashis’s parents by the Indonesian firm.

Kakoty from Assam and Dave from Maharashtra were on Saturday kidnapped from Port Harcourt in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Employees of Indorama, the two had been given key assignments at Eleme Petrochemical Plant in Port Harcourt.

“Indorama authorities informed my daughter-in-law Lata, who is also in Port Harcourt, that the first installment of the ransom had been paid and the rest would be paid shortly,” Debashis’ father Ajit Kakoty said from Sivasagar. He added that Indorama was hopeful of the duo’s release by Monday.

Kakoty, a retired professor, and his wife Kumkum got a call from Lata at 9.30 p.m. on Saturday that militants had raided a block of flats occupied by Indorama at Port Harcourt and seized 10 employees of the MNC. The security guards managed to rescue eight hostages but fled with Debashis and Sunil.

Kakoty has spoken to the External Affairs Ministry and Indian deputy high commissioner in Lagos, Arun Trigunyat, seeking New Delhi’s intervention in securing the early release of his son. “We are praying for him,” he said, adding that Lata would persuade his son to quit the job after his release.

The Niger Delta is a hotbed of violence with poverty-stricken locals nursing a grudge against a seemingly pro-MNC government. Militants have kidnapped nearly 100 expatriate workers from here this year. Most of them were released after the payment of hefty ransoms.

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