Bongaigaon/Guwahati, Dec. 7: Two jawans of the Sashastra Seema Bal (civil wing) are suspected to have been kidnapped by the Songbijit faction of the NDFB from Assam’s Chirang district, close to the Indo-Bhutan border.
Signal officer Jagadish Chand, based at Shiklai Jhora border outpost of the SSB under Panbari police outpost in Chirang district, told The Telegraph that five jawans of the unit had set off for Kahitama village, 12km away, on bicycles at 9am yesterday.
They crossed Sakua river and reached the village, where they split into three groups (2+2+1) for “ground work”. They were supposed to get together and return around 10.30am but two of them, Nakul Kumar Medhi and Anil Chandra Yadav, did not turn up.
Medhi is a resident of neighbouring Baksa district while Yadav hails from Uttar Pradesh.
When the two did not show up till 5pm, SSB officials lodged a complaint with Panbari police outpost, which is 55km from the district headquarters of Kajalgaon and 195km from Guwahati.
Sources said it is suspected that the two jawans, who had reportedly gone to the border area to collect intelligence about the Songbijit faction, were kidnapped by the militant outfit and taken to their camps in Bhutan.
According to intelligence agencies, the I.K. Songbijit group, a breakaway faction of the NDFB’s Ranjan Daimary group, is active in the hilly border areas and has set up camps in Bhutan as well.
The Daimary group had recently signed a suspension of operations agreement with the Centre for talks but the Songbijit faction continues to be a concern for security agencies.
Assam inspector-general of police (law and order) S.N. Singh said the police have launched a search and are planning an operation against the Songbijit faction, which has been involved in several cases of abduction and extortion in Chirang and its neighbouring districts in BTAD.
“We have worked out a strategy for the operation and hope to get some positive outcome in the next 15 to 20 days,” he added.
In 2010, the NDFB had ambushed and killed six SSB jawans at the same place where the two jawans went missing.
The SSB guards about 699km of the Indo-Bhutan border, traversing Kamrup, Bongaigaon, Baksa, Chirang, Udalguri and Nalbari districts of Assam.