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Naga criminals keep poacher�s son hostage in lieu of weapon

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, Aug 6 - Dimapur-based Naga criminals kept a 12-year-old son of a poacher hostage in order to �lend� a rifle which was to be used for poaching at Orang National Park.

Incidentally, police and forest personnel nabbed three poachers, namely Noor Zamal Rahman, Sadikul Islam and Niyamat Ali after tracking them for about two months from Bosa-simalu village in Dhekiajuli. The operation was led by Sonitpur Superintendent of Police PP Singh.

Orang DFO Ramesh Gogoi told The Assam Tribune that Noor Zamal Rahman had confessed that the Naga criminals had kept his son Ikramul Hussain hostage so that they could �lend� a .303 rifle. Ikramul has been kept hostage since June and was not released till yesterday.

�The gang had planned to strike on June 10. They entered the park and were inside for about two days. But we had information and had intensified vigil. Apparently, they failed to execute their plan and had to leave. We apprehended two of the poachers later,� the DFO said.

The gang was planning to strike again � somewhere in the Sonitpur part of Orang - when the trio was nabbed yesterday.

Investigations point out that the poachers had brought along two Naga shooters who were reportedly carrying small weapons.

�We are on the lookout for at least three more members of the gang. Also, we are yet to recover the .303 rifle under reference. But there are reports that it is being taken back to Dimapur,� the DFO said.

The Naga shooters involved in poaching activities do not normally camp for many days in Assam. They come, execute their plan in a day and leave immediately, so it is not easy to catch them, a police source said.

Police believe that Noor Zamal�s son would be released by the Naga criminals once the rifle is returned.

�It was a part of the deal. The poachers also have to cough up some money as �rent� for the rifle. The son was kept as surety in case they fail to return the weapon. The Naga criminals would also buy the horn if the poachers succeed in their mission,� the source said.

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