Guwahati: Debashis Kakoty and Sunil Dave, the two Indian engineers abducted by armed militants in Nigeria, could be freed on Monday. Their employers , Indorama, an Indonesian MNC have started paying the ransom demanded by their captors in installments. This has been conveyed to Kakoty’s parents by the Indonesian firm.
Kakoty and Dave were on 19 May 2007 kidnapped from Port Harcourt in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta. The two employees of Indorama had been given key assignments at the Eleme Petrochemical Plant in Port Harcourt.
Parents and sister of Debasish Kakoty (inset) at their Sivasagar residence in Assam
“Indorama authorities informed my daughter-in-law Lata, who is also in Port Harcourt, that the first installment of the ransom had already been paid and the rest would be paid shortly,” Debashis’ father Ajit Kakoty said from Sivasagar in eastern Assam. He added Indorama was hopeful of the duo’s release by 21 May.
A retired professor, Kakoty and his wife Kumkum have been spending anxious moments since they got a call from his daughter-in-law at around 9:30 pm on Saturday. She also related how the militants raided a block of flats occupied by Indorama employees at Port Harcourt and seized 10 of them, including Debashis and Sunil. The security guards rescued eight hostages, but the captors fled with Debashis and Sunil.
Ajit Kakoty has communicated with the Ministry of External Affairs as well as the Indian deputy high commissioner in Lagos, Arun Trigunyat, seeking New Delhi’s intervention in securing the early release of his son. “We are praying to god for his release, though Indorama has assured his safe return,” he said, adding Lata would persuade his son to quit his job in Nigeria after his release.
Debashis graduated in fire engineering from the Indian Institute of Fire Engineering in Nagpur. He worked with Indian Oil Corporation for six years before joining Indorama as a safety officer for Eleme Petrochemical Complex in Nigeria. He shifted to Port Harcourt with his wife Lata and one-year-old son Aditya.
A vast wetland, Niger Delta has most of Nigeria’s oil reserves. But the region has been a hotbed of violence with poverty-stricken locals nursing a grudge against a seemingly pro-MNC Nigerian government. Many foreign workers of oil-based companies have left the lawless region in recent months resulting in a drastic drop in production.
Nigerian militants have so far kidnapped nearly 100 expatriate workers from Niger Delta this year. Most of them were released after their employers paid hefty ransom.