Rebels free Meghalaya official after 56 days

A senior Meghalaya transport official and his driver who were kidnapped by Garo National Liberation Army rebels have been released unharmed after 56 days of captivity, police said.

Last Updated: Nov 25, 2010, 09:21 AM IST

Shillong: A senior Meghalaya transport official and his driver who were kidnapped by Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels have been released unharmed after 56 days of captivity, police said Thursday.

R. Syngkon, district transport officer of East Garo Hills district, and his driver
Wan-bormi Syngkon were freed by the captors Wednesday night at Samanda area, Additional Director General of Police Rajiv Mehta said.

Samanda is about 25 km from Williamnagar - the district headquarters of East Garo Hills district.

An intelligence official said the victims were released after the rebels were paid a ransom of Rs.50 lakh. However, police officials refused to comment on it.

On Sep 30, five armed GNLA rebels abducted them from the official`s residence at Williamnagar after he refused to comply with the extortion demands of Rs.60 lakh.

However, the GNLA`s military wing chief Sohan D. Shira claimed that the official was kidnapped for indulging in "corrupt practices" and warned government officials in the region not to indulge in corruption.

"Syngkon has learnt the lesson hard and vowed that he will not repeat the deed he did before. We believe he will keep his word," Shira was quoted as saying by a local English daily.

"Each corrupt officer will meet with dire consequences or share the same fate or worse than Syngkon," he said.

The GNLA, one of the five Garo rebel groups, is demanding a sovereign Garoland in western Meghalaya and is believed to have links with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

IANS