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GNLA abducts 2 cattle traders

Dhubri, Feb. 15: Seven cattle traders were returning in an autorickshaw when 15 armed militants of the GNLA intercepted the vehicle at Gastala under Phulbari police station of West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya and ordered them to disembark around 7pm yesterday.

They were held at gunpoint and taken deep inside a forest. Five of the seven cattle traders fled under cover of darkness and reached Hatsinghimari in Dhubri last night, a police source said. Faruque Ahmed, 40, of Bhaitbari and Aftabul Rahman, 55, from Mancachar, however, could not escape from the clutches of the militants.

The source said Ahmed and Rahman had gone to purchase cattle from Gastola market yesterday. A police source in Hatsinghimari, however, said that till now their family members had not received any ransom call from militants.

Subdivisional police officer of South Salmara-Mancachar, M.N. Deori, said as the abductions took place in an area that is not within his jurisdiction, he was unable to do anything. “We have, however, contacted their family members and asked them to lodge FIRs in the police stations of Garo hills so that Meghalaya police can initiate action,” Deori said.

Police sources in Goalpara and Dhubri said incidents of abductions and extortions had shot up because of the presence of GNLF, Ulfa and NDFB militants along the Assam-Meghalaya border. These outfits operate from their bases in Garo hills districts and after committing crimes in Kamrup, Goalpara and Dhubri districts sneak into Garo hills.