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Ransom hope for engineer
- Assam family lives Nigerian nightmare

Guwahati, May 20: The Assamese engineer who was abducted along with two colleagues in Nigeria yesterday is safe and could be released soon because his employer has already paid an unspecified ransom to the group behind the incident, his family in Assam said today.

Debasish Kakati, a fire engineer with an Indonesian oil company engaged in exploration projects in the African country, and two other employees were taken hostage from their quarters at Port Harcourt in the West African country.

The abductors exchanged fire with guards at the colony before whisking away the trio.

Debasish’s father Ajit Kakati told The Telegraph over phone from Sivasagar that his daughter-in-law Lata was informed by officials of the oil company Indorama that they had already paid the ransom initially demanded by the armed group.

The abductors then upped their demand, which the company agreed to fulfil by tomorrow.

Buari (daughter-in-law) called me this morning to inform us that the company’s officials have assured her that they would pay the ransom sought for the trio’s release by tomorrow,” Ajit said.

Debasish, 32, joined Indorama only on September 15 last year after leaving his job with the Indian Oil Corporation. He was posted in Panipat.

Since joining Indorama, Debasish has been based on the outskirts of Port Harcourt with his wife Lata and one-year-old son Aditya.

Armed men took him and two more Indian employees of Indorama hostage after a gunbattle with guards of the Joint Task Force at Elelewon, on the outskirts of Port Harcourt.

Reports from Nigeria said nearly 50 armed men stormed Moses Chnida Avenue at Elelewon to abduct expatriate staff of Indorama.

They met with resistance from guards of the JTF, who kept them at bay for 20 minutes.

Ajit today sent an email to the Indian embassy in Lagos, seeking its intervention for his son’s early release. The embassy had not responded till evening.

A retired college teacher, Ajit said he and wife Kumkum spent a sleepless night after getting the news around 9.30 pm yesterday from his son-in-law, who is based in Dibrugarh.

The first sign of hope came this morning, when their daughter-in-law called to inform about the company’s assurance.

“She told us not to worry and added that they are expecting his release by tomorrow, after the fresh demand is met,” Ajit said.

Lata also told her father-in-law that Indorama had been contacted by the abductors, who said the hostages were safe. “Officials of the company spoke to my husband a few hours ago today and they told me both men are safe and are likely to be released soon,” she said.

Debasish got his bachelor’s degree in fire engineering from Fire Institute, Nagpur.

Scores of Assamese engineers previously employed with public sector companies have left their jobs in India and joined multinationals overseas in the past few years.

The majority of these engineers are in the Gulf countries.

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