Needle of suspicion points to Karbi People's Liberation Tigers

Suspected militants of the Karbi People's Liberation Tigers (KPLT) abducted Chief Conservator of Forest of Karbi Anglong Abhijit Rabha and Range Officer Ranjan Barua from a forest in central Assam's Karbi Anglong district on Saturday.

Inspector-General of Police (Law and Order) L.R. Bisnoi told The Hindu that the militants abducted the officials while they were returning from deep inside the forest.

Combing operation

The incident occurred around 1.15 p.m. at Baklog area under the Manza police station. The Army and the Central Reserve Police Force have been alerted even as the police launched a combing operation.

Mr. Rabha, an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer of the 1984 batch, who was working in Karbi Anglong in 2009, led a team of forest officials and personnel for conducting a biodiversity survey in the Singhason hills in the district as part of a Wildlife Trust of India programme on February 27.

The team included two Japanese nationals who returned on February 29 to Diphu — the headquarter town of Karbi Anglong district — along with some other members of the team.

Altogether 46 members took part in the six-day survey programme.

The abductors stopped the vehicles in which the remaining team members led by Mr. Rabha were returning, at Baklog area under the Manza police station on Saturday afternoon. The KPLT militants fired some rounds in the air and whisked away Mr. Rabha and Mr. Barua, according to a team member.

Only active outfit

The KPLT is the only militant outfit currently active in the hill district. The outfit, which, according to the police, has about 30-odd cadres, is a breakaway faction of the militant Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF).

When the KLNLF signed the cessation of hostilities agreement with the Centre and the Assam government, about 25 cadres of the outfit parted ways and formed the new outfit.

However, of late, the KPLT suffered reverses in stepped-up counter-insurgency operation by the police and the security forces.