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BSF rescues eight hostages

Imphal, Jan. 21: The BSF today rescued eight persons, including senior officials of the Food Corporation of India, after a shootout with gunmen on the Imphal-Moreh road while they were speeding towards the Indo-Myanmar border town.

Official sources said nine persons were abducted by unidentified men while they were on their way to Moreh in two jeeps to inspect the site for the construction of a food and civil supplies godown. The gunmen intercepted the vehicles at Khongkham, 4 km from Moreh, at 10.30 am.

On receiving information about the abduction, the BSF post at Khongkhang rushed its troops and gave a chase. When they closed in on the abductors, the gunmen opened fire. After a 15-minute encounter, the jawans rescued eight of the hostages. The gunmen fled with FCI deputy director, Dimapur, Sadhasivam.

Those rescued include FCI manager, Shillong, R.P.C. Ram, president of the All-Manipur Truck Owners’ Association Hijam Ranjit Singh and assistant manager, FCI, Ch. Ashunikumar. The other five, Mayanglambam Bijoy Singh, Thangjam Kiran Singh, Thangjam Tombi Singh, Ningthoujam Nabakumar and Aribam Sanaton, are believed to be officials of either the FCI or the state food and civil supplies department.

BSF deputy inspector-general P.K.Mishra said efforts were on to rescue the FCI official.

In another incident, gunmen looted three vehicles within a few hours of the abduction on the same route. The gunmen reportedly abducted a Moreh-based trader identified as Murti Madrasi. Reports reaching here said the gunmen stopped the vehicles at Lokchao and looted cash and valuables from the passengers before abducting the trader.

In a separate incident, militants attacked a CRPF convoy at Khurai in Imphal. No one was injured. Police said the militants had planted two bombs under a bridge and exploded one when the three-vehicle convoy was approaching.

while the other bomb failed to explode. Police believe the bomb was exploded by remote-control devices.

Later, a police bomb squad searched the area and recovered an unexploded bomb. Bomb experts removed it to a safer place where it was defused.

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