Rebels abduct engineer, his driver in Mizoram

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Aizawl/Agartala, Feb 3: A Tripura-based terrorist outfit abducted a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) engineer and his driver in Mizoram, police said on Tuesday.

"Armed militants kidnapped Hokum Singh and his driver Mohammad Buizul Islam from Tuipuibari village in Mamit district (in western Mizoram) late Monday," a Mizoram Police official said in Aizawl.


He said Hokum Singh is a resident of Haryana and Buizul Islam is a local man. The BRO engineer went to the village (bordering Bangladesh) to supervise fencing along the India-Bangladesh border.


According to the police official, National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) guerillas initially kidnapped 22 people, comprising construction workers and local people, but released 20 of the hostages later on.


A huge contingent of security forces has rushed to the spot, 225 km north of Mizoram capital Aizawl and 25 km from the Tripura-Mizoram border. A massive combing operation to rescue the captives and to nab the militants has been launched.


Police suspect the NLFT might have taken the hostages to adjoining Bangladesh.


Mizoram Police on Sunday arrested two NLFT militants from Mamit district and some sophisticated arms and ammunition were recovered from them.


A Tripura Police official said in Agartala that the militants used the Mamit district as their corridor to carry out their trans-border movement between Bangladesh, Mizoram and Tripura.


The Mizoram Police official said that since 2011, 10 incidents of abduction by the NLFT militants and their local collaborators have taken place in Kolasib district along Mizoram-Assam border and Mamit district along Mizoram-Tripura-Bangladesh border.


In all 38 people, including traders and officials, have been kidnapped in these incidents. However, most of the hostages were released after a few weeks after taking huge ransom. The guerrillas, with their base in Bangladesh, have also been kidnapping people in Tripura to extort ransom money.


Tripura shares a 109-km border with Mizoram and a 53-km border with Assam. The two northeastern states also share a 1,174-km border with Bangladesh and most parts of the border are still unfenced and porous.

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