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Abducted German social worker remains untraced

April 06, 2003 13:16 IST

More than a fortnight after he was abducted by the Kuki Liberation Army militants, German development worker Heinrich Wolfgang remains untraced.

The Manipur government and several non-government organisations, which are negotiating with the kidnappers, are worried over reports of Wolfgang's poor health.

Reports said the Bonn-based social worker had a bout of diarrhoea three days ago and his health is deteriorating.

The failing health of the hostage also alarmed the militants, who, at one stage, were reportedly ready to release him to avoid more complications.

An alarmed government official said any harm to the foreign national would have far-reaching consequences. Several NGOs have also warned that the abduction would scare away international funding agencies from Manipur.

Joining the chorus for the release of the German national, former chief minister and Rajya Sabha MP, Rishang Keishing, said that the incident had blackened the image of Manipur.

"The Bonn-based NGO is one of the groups that have been generously providing aid to Manipur. The abduction would prevent other agencies from funding development activities in this backward state. The abductors should free him immediately," he said.

Meanwhile, chairman for the NGO, Volunteers for Village Development, Ashok Tipnis, who was picked up by the police on March 29, continues to remain in police custody. Tipnis was arrested on charges of violating the Protected Area restrictions.

The German national, who was abducted near Maphou Dam in Imphal East on March 23, did not have the requisite permission to enter Imphal East district, disclosed well placed sources, and Tipnis was picked up by the police for taking Wolfgang to Imphal East.

 

Vinayak Ganapathy in Guwahati