AGARTALA, Dec 2 (IANS): Nine Tripura villagers, kidnapped by a separatist outfit and taken to their hideout in Bangladesh over 136 days ago, have escaped from the militants' custody across the border and returned home to Tripura, police here said Friday.
A police spokesman told reporters that the tribals were abducted by the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) July 18 from Chawmanu in northern Tripura and taken to their camps in Chittagong hill tracts of southeast Bangladesh.
"They fled from the NLFT hideout when the guerrillas had gone out of the camp. They crossed the 60 km jungle path on foot, crossed the border and reached the Chawmanu border village - some 180 km north of here," a police officer said.
Senior police officials are interrogating the tribals to know the details about the presence of Tripura extremists in Bangladesh and their strength.
The NLFT and the All Tripura Tiger Force, both banned by the Indian authorities, have set up their bases in Bangladesh and get support from other separatist outfits of the northeast. They have been demanding secession of Tripura from India.
Tripura shares a 856-km international border with Bangladesh. The dense forests, mountainous terrain, and other hitches make the unfenced border porous and vulnerable.