Militants of a Nagaland-based outfit kidnapped a driver of an inter-State bus on Wednesday morning from Vishema in Nagaland. Some persons, claiming to be members of a outift, had telephonically instructed the bus owner to pay up Rs. 20 lakh as ransom, failing which the life of the driver will be put in danger. The driver identified as Rame Thoudam was driving the bus from Guwahati to Imphal when it was intercepted in Nagaland.

Talking to reporters, representatives of the All Manipur Inter States Bus Association said that about six persons had intercepted the bus near Vishema. They whisked the driver towards Kohima. Later the driver asked his assistant to proceed towards Imphal. The representatives said that they had explained to the militants that the association does not have money to pay up. A formal complaint has been launched. In the past some drivers had been killed when ransom was not paid. So far the kidnappers and killers have not been accounted for.

Meanwhile a banned underground organisation, the Kangleipak Communist party, Military Council in a statement said that it has rescued two Manipuri drivers in Nagaland. These drivers, Mangijao Koijam and Bharatsana Rajkumar, had been kidnapped from a petrol pump at Bokajan in Assam. They were found in a shack in the paddy field at Wokha in Nagaland. They were later handed over to their families.

In yet another incident one construction worker was kidnapped by tribal militants in Senapati district on Thursday. It is believed that the contractor was instructed to pay up ransom.