Guwahati: Debashis Kakoty and Sunil Dave, the two Indian engineers abducted by armed militants in Nigeria, could be freed on 21 May with their Indonesian employers having started paying their ransom in installments. This has been conveyed to Kakoty’s parents by the Indonesian firm.
Kakoty from Assam and Dave from Maharashtra were kidnapped on 19 May from Port Harcourt in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta. Employees of Indorama, an Indonesian MNC, the two had been given key assignments at Eleme Petrochemical Plant in Port Harcourt.
“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 19 May. She also related how the militants raided a block of flats occupied by Indorama at Port Harcourt and seized 10 employees of the MNC, including Debashis and Sunil. The security guards rescued eight hostages, but fled with Debashis and Sunil as captives.
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 early release of his son from the kidnappers’ captivity. “We are praying to god for his release, though the Indorama has assured his safe return,” he said, adding Lata would persuade his son to quit the Nigeria job after his release.
A product of Sivasagar College, Debashis got graduated in fire engineering from Indian Institute of Fire Engineering in Nagpur. He worked with IOC 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 left the lawless region in recent months resulting in 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 ransoms.