"ULFA-I releases ONGC employee in Nagaland"
On May 22, the outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I) released an Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited employee who had been kidnapped from an oil rig in Assam a month before. According to an Army spokeswoman, ONGC junior technician Ritul Saikia was released in Lungwa hamlet on the India-Myanmar border in Nagaland's Mon district. On Monday, he was brought to district headquarters by a mixed team of army and state police. On April 21, five gunmen seized Mr. Saikia and two other ONGC personnel from an oil drill in the Charaideo district. The other two, junior technician Mohini Mohan Gogoi and junior engineering assistant Alakesh Saikia, were rescued in April near the Myanmar border.The ULFA-I claimed that the Indian military forces had “all but certainly” killed the junior technician after the clash. Later, it was revealed that the group was holding him captive in order to negotiate a deal with the ONGC.Mr. Saikia was released two days after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma requested his release from ULFA-I "commander-in-chief" Paresh Baruah. The hostage would be released in four days, according to the latter. The ULFA-I declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire on May 15 for the second time since 2005. This has raised hopes that the organisation, Assam's sole armed organisation that has neither disbanded or entered into peace negotiations, will come to the table.
Because of the situation in Myanmar, ULFA-I is a depleted force that is under pressure,” an Assam police officer said, declining to be cited. The ULFA-II is a ULFA-II that I had previously refused to consider a cease-fire until the Union government agreed to negotiate Assam's statehood.