LAEF demands Rs one crore for release of abducted manager

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Shillong, Mar 12 (UNI) Militants of the Liberation A'chik Elite Force (LAEF) have demanded Rs one crore as ransom for release of the kidnapped manager of a grocery shop, Devendar Prajati in Meghalaya.

''The ransom note of the LAEF was found from the grocery shop.

We are investigating the matter,'' a senior police official said.

Mr Prajati was abducted from his residence in Rongjeng under East Garo Hills district on Monday night.

According to preliminary reports, five armed LAEF ultras, forcibly entered Prajati's residence and whisked him away. ''We have already launched an operation for his safe release,'' a police official said.

The LAEF, a relatively new militant outfit, is believed to have close links with the NSCN(I-M) and is fighting for a separate independent A'chik State for the tribal Garos residing in Garo Hills areas of Meghalaya.

Late last year, the NSCN-IM had reportedly provided the LAEF with as many as 15 AK-47s, 25 automatic M20 pistols and three highly powerful Universal Machine Guns, besides over a hundred hand grenades to carry out their operations in Garo Hills.

The nascent militant outfit has set up its operational camp inside the Balpakram National Park, with the help of the NSCN(I-M), to impart guerilla warfare tactics to new LAEF recruits.

The Meghalaya Police launched operations in the entire park but could not make much progress owing to the hostile topography.

UNI RRK PL RC KN1436

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