Kidnap: A day after two men were abducted at gunpoint from Bhur in Gelephu, family members have received calls from the kidnapers demanding Nu 20 million ransom.
Gelephu police have arrested two suspects from Tukrey in Assam, India. Tukrey is about 10 minutes walk from the house of the kidnapped.
On February 22 at 7.30pm, Desh Maya Rai was washing dishes in front of her house. Her 28-year-old husband, the 16-year-old son of her husband’s employer and a 12-year-old caretaker were feeding pigs about 50 metres away.
Desh Maya saw six men, two of whom were in Royal Bhutan Army uniform, walked towards the farm and instantly they surrounded the three of them. The abductors took them towards the Gelephu-Sarpang highway at gunpoint.
Desh Maya picked up her infant and rushed inside the house, locked herself in and called her employer, Bishnu Maya Rai. “I was nervous and could not shout for help.”
Early next morning, the caretaker came home. He is speech impaired but in sign language narrated the incident to his family. He said that the kidnapers took them along the Paitha river. Adjacent to the riverbank is an army watchtower and kidnapers walked underneath it. There were no security personnel at the watchtower when the incident occured.
Kidnapers kept the three of them in the forest below the watchtower.
They were fed mimi noodles and water, and spread fresh leaves for them to sleep on. At the break of dawn, the caretaker was given Nu 50 and sent home. The boy returned home traumatized.
At home, relatives and neighbours have gathered to console the two family. Mother of the class X student, Bishnu Maya, has blood-shot eyes. Her elder son holds her close. “My son must be cold and hungry,” she says. “We’re poor farmers. Why did they attack us like that?”
The suspects had worked on contract to construct a store three months ago. An argument occurred after the two left work and took away Nu 5,000. They did not return.
“How I wish the security at the OP had stayed that night. The kidnappers would have never come,” says Bishnu Maya.
Police sources say that they have alerted security agencies. With help from Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), operation to find the kidnapers has been launched.
Parents of the Class IX student of Norbuling Central School are still awaiting their son’s return, who was kidnapped in 2014. A driver and a helper of Mindu Constructions went missing from Shantipur, Assam not long after. The incident has left Gelephu shaken.
Sonam, a resident of Gelephu, said: “We’ve heard nothing more than ‘working with counterparts’…If nothing is done this time, government has failed. Government can’t be silent anymore.”
Nirmala Pokhrel, Gelephu
Note: In the print version of the story, the watchtower is reflected as an outpost. It is not an outpost. We apologize for the error.