Abductors still issuing threats | Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 30, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:47 AM, April 30, 2018

Abductors still issuing threats

Say two Hill Women's Federation leaders who had recently been abducted and released in Rangamati

The two recently released leaders of Hill Women's Federation (HWF), who were abducted on March 18, said they were still receiving life threats from the kidnappers if they revealed any information about the captors.

After escaping their home, the two reached Dhaka a few a days ago and held a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club yesterday.

They claimed the abductors belonged to a newly formed armed group called Mukhos Bahini (Masked group) and another faction of Jana Sanghati Samati (JSS-MN Larma) who enjoyed support from law enforcers.

“They even threatened my family yesterday by phone and asked them to leave the house, or they will kill my mother and brother,” said Manti Chakma, secretary general of Hill Women Federation, one of the abductees.

“They handed us over to our guardians under three conditions -- we would never involve in politics, we would not leave our village and we would not reveal their identities. If we don't obey them, they will make our family suffer.

“They are threatening my father and elder brother in efforts to oust them from the village since I left my home….. Doya's [the other abduction victim] family has also been threatened and she could not sit for the HSC exam,” claimed Manti.

The abductors moved from one village to another for 33 days, holding the two women hostage, through road and waterways. But they never faced any trouble on the way and their vehicles were never checked by law enforcers, she added.

Manti Chakma, central general secretary of HWF, and Doya Sona Chakma, general secretary of Rangamati unit HWF, were abducted on March 18 and released on April 19.

The HWF is an associate organisation of United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF).

At the press conference, held jointly by 19 rights organisations, they placed an eight-point demand, including punishment of abductors and safety and security for their families.

Before their release, the abductors forced them to say before a camera that the UPDF (Mukhosh Bahini) and JSS-MN Larma have no involvement in their abduction, Manti said.

“We were indescribably tortured mentally, we were not sure if we could come back alive.”   

On 18 March, the abductors took them to Hadamola Ghat in Naniarchar upazila. Two days later, they shifted them to Mahalchhari upazila in Khagrachhari. From there, they were taken to Dighinala upazila and Madhupur area of Khagrachhari, she said.

“We had been in the forest under the open sky and also in a hut.

“We were taken from Merung via Dighinala to Khagrachhari on a vehicle. There were a number of camps and checkpoints of law enforcers. But no one stopped us,” she said.

THE KIDNAP

Armed criminals, wearing masks, launched an attack in a residential area of Kudukchhari area of Rangamati around 9:30am on March 18, when pro-UPDF leaders and activists had gathered there. The assailants opened indiscriminate fire.

Dharma Singh Chakma, president of Democratic Youth Forum's Rangamati unit, suffered bullet injuries during the incident.

Manti and Doya took shelter in a nearby house and, according to media reports, the abductors first beat them up before kidnapping them.

The miscreants torched a mess, which was meant for students of remote areas, while leaving the area.

On, march 19 they were handed over to their guardians and local representatives under conditions. Since then they were under surveillance, claimed Manti.

Doya's father filed a case against 19 members of the UPDF (Mukhosh Bahini) and JSS-MN Larma, said HWF President Nirupa Chakma.

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