An employee of a private oil drilling company abducted from Arunachal Pradesh by the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) in December last year was released on Saturday by the banned outfit.

Pranab Kumar Gogoi, who hails from Assam, was recovered by police in Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh. However, there is no trace yet of Ram Kumar, another employee of the company who hails from Bihar and was abducted along with Gogoi.

“We found Gogoi from Longbi village along the Indo-Myanmar border on the Indian side. He is healthy and seems to be fit. We are questioning him. There is no trace of Ram Kumar,” Mihin Gambo, superintendent of police, Changlang, said.

Gogoi, a drilling superintendent, and Ram Kumar, a radio operator, employed by Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited, a Delhi-based company, were abducted on December 21 from a drilling location in Changlang district.

“It’s like a new life for me. Every day in custody was spent on worrying whether I would see the next sunrise. We were shifted every 2-3 days and kept at different locations,” Gogoi told journalists after his release.

“Both Kumar and I were kept together till March 4. But we were separated after that and I have no clue about his whereabouts. I hope he is also released soon,” he added.

On January 12, Paresh Baruah, commander-in-chief of ULFA-I had admitted to abducting the two employees and told TV channels in Assam that Kumar, who hails from Bihar, would become a ‘victim’ if the oil drilling company didn’t pay the outfit it’s ‘due share’ for extracting natural resources from Assam and rest of the northeast region.

Baruah had said that Gogoi who’s an Assamese won’t be harmed.

Later, ULFA-I had set a deadline till February 16 to complete talks and secure the release of the two abducted employees. It had also warned that chief ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh would be responsible if the two employees die in an “undesired incident”.

In February this year, ULFA-I threatened to take ‘final action’ on Gogoi and Kumar in a phased manner since the deadline for talks as well as discussions with the company had passed.

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