Shillong: Militants have abducted a Block Development Officer of Chokpot region in Meghalaya on Wednesday.
Block Development Officer Jude Rangku T. Sangma was kidnapped by Garo National Liberation Army militants on Tuesday from a remote area in South Garo Hills district, an officer said.
Inspector General of Police F.D. Sangma told IANS over phone that the official was abducted at gun point around 5.30 p.m. from Diganggre while he was on his way to Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills.
He said the Meghalaya Civil Service officer was posted in Chokpot block, a militant hub, for more than two years.
In the past, Sangma received several threats and extortion demands from the GNLA but he did not pay heed to the threats.
Tuesday’s incident comes close on the heels of the recovery of the body of an Intelligence Bureau officer, Bikash Singh Kumar, and a cloth merchant, Kamala Saha, after they were kidnapped and murdered by A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok militants.
One of Sangma’s family members, who did not wish to be named, told IANS that the family has not received any ransom call.
The GNLA had earlier slapped extortion demands ranging from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.1 crore on petrol pump owners, coal dealers and businessmen in the coal-rich districts of Garo Hills.
The GNLA is fighting for a separate Garoland in the western part of Meghalaya.
In the last few weeks, at least 160 families have been displaced in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province by Islamic State attacks and fighting between U.S.-backed Afghan government forces and various militant groups.
More than 400 families have been displaced in the province in the past 10 months.
Families in the province say they left their houses to escape violence from militants.
“It’s been a few days that the IS militants have re-emerged, and a new round of firefighting has started. We had no choice but to seek refuge in deserts, under the government-controlled areas,” Khan Mohammad, a displaced man, told VOA.
Two hundred and fifty of the displaced families are from Nangarhar’s restive Pachir Wa Agam district where IS militants are active and fighting Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents over territory control.
IS militants attacked the Pachir Wa Agam district, destroyed many homes and captured more than two dozen local men last December, according to Afghan officials.
The district came under heavy airstrikes when the U.S. entered Afghanistan in pursuit of al-Qaida and the Taliban beginning in late 2001.
Attaullah Khogyani, the governor of Nangarhar’s spokesperson, downplayed the IS threat but confirmed a recent displacement of 160 families within Deh Bala district of the province.
“The reasons for displacement of these families are the current special military operation against IS militants,” he added.
Afghan joint forces drove IS extremists out of the Pachir Wa Agam district in Nangarhar last December, and then hundreds of local men joined the central government’s security forces to help ensure that IS radicals cannot return to the area.
The Afghan Defense Ministry talked down any “serious” IS threat in the area, asserting that militants are trying to terrify unarmed locals at the behest of regional intelligence agencies. General Mohammad Radmanish told VOA that multiple military operations are under way in eastern Nangarhar province to remove remaining IS fighters.
“We will boost these military operations to provide security and wipe out the traitors. We are also starting to venture the new strategy and improvise our local army units once the areas are cleared,” Radmanish added.
During the past three years, more than 14,000 families were displaced internally in Nangarhad and only 8,000 of them have returned to their houses, Afghan authorities said.