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Abducted drivers return to Mizoram

- Efforts on to free telecom professional

Aizawl, Jan. 21: The two Mizo drivers who were abducted on November 23 returned to Mizoram today after spending 60 days in captivity in the jungles of Bangladesh.

The two men, Sanglianthanga and Lalzamliana, were brought to Silsuri, a border village in western Mizoram, around 11.30am today. From there, they were brought to Mamit, said Mamit superintendent of police Rodingliana Chawngthu.

Taxi driver Sanglianthanga of Mamit and truck driver Lalzamliana of Kolasib were jointly abducted by the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and Bru National Democratic Liberation Front of Mizoram, on November 23 last year, along with 25-year-old telecom professional Deep Mandal, a resident of West Bengal. Mandal is yet to be released, police officials said.

The abductors had demanded Rs 5 crore for the release of the hostages. The Mizoram government today denied paying any ransom to secure the release of the hostages. Addressing a joint meeting of all major NGOs in the state here today, home minister R. Lalzirliana said Tripura police had arrested two of the 12 kidnappers. Six of the abductors were NLFT cadres and the rest belong to the Bru outfit. Lalzirliana said the NLFT handed over the two Mizo hostages to the Mizoram police team around 3pm on Monday. He praised the tireless efforts of Mizoram police, especially the CID, in securing the release of the hostages, but expressed disappointment over the failure to rescue Mandal. He said continued efforts would be made to secure Mandalís release.

The home minister had convened an all-party meeting in this regard today but none of the Opposition parties attended.

The NGOs, which attended the meeting, later issued a joint resolution expressing happiness over the release of two of the hostages. The resolution demanded the early release of Mandal and urged the government to continue efforts for his release.

Mandal, an employee of a Noida-based company, was on his first assignment to survey an area in western Mizoram to set up mobile phone towers, when he was abducted.

Tension was high after the abductions, as influential studentsí organisations had planned to launch a voluntary mass search operation for the hostages. Already more than 100 Bru families in western Mizoram have taken shelter in neighbouring Tripura.


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