‘Efforts on to secure abducted Indians’ release in Sudan’

May 21st, 2008 - 10:20 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Efforts are underway to secure the release of four Indians kidnapped in Sudan eight days ago, the external affairs ministry said Wednesday, even as it summoned the ambassador of the north African country over the matter. Said Navtej Sarna, external affairs ministry spokesperson: “Efforts continue to secure the release of four Indian nationals who were abducted along with their Sudanese driver.”

On May 13, four Indians working for Petro Energy, which provides services to the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), were kidnapped near Heglig, Sudan. They have been identified as P.K. Abhilash (Kerala), Mohammed Aseeb Shaik (Gorakhpur), Biplab Biswas (Kolkata) and Surjit Singh (Amritsar).

On Monday, Sudan’s top envoy in India was summoned to the external affairs ministry, where he was “urged” to “convey the government of India’s concern over the incident and to urgently secure the release of the four workers”, Sarna said.

“The ministry continues to closely monitor developments,” he said.

The spokesperson said that Petro Energy’s owner, Mohammed Arif Khan, was in touch with the relatives of the four kidnapped Indians.

“Our ambassador is in touch daily with the concerned authorities in Sudan, including the ministers of foreign affairs and interior,” said Sarna.

On May 15, Indian Ambassador to Khartoum Deepak Vohra told IANS: “The kidnappers are known and we also know where the four Indian nationals are being held.”

An official in the Sudanese embassy here said that the Indians were “kidnapped in the course of a fight between rival tribes who were claiming a share of oil-wealth”.

Incidentally, India’s flagship overseas oil exploration company ONGC Videsh is a member of the GNPOC, investing over $1 billion - the largest Indian investment in Africa.

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