Two journalists, not ULFA leader, held in Myanmar: Official

December 7th, 2011 - 11:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Shillong, Dec 7 (IANS) Myanmarese authorities Wednesday confirmed to India that no leader of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has been detained, but that its army has arrested two Indian journalists, a senior official said.

“Myanmarese authorities have conveyed to the MEA (ministry of external affairs) about the arrest of two Indian journalists from Myanmar-China border, but said there has been no arrest of any person by the name of Jibon Moran,” Shambu Singh, joint secretary (northeast) in the union home ministry, told IANS over phone.

He, however, said India is in touch with the Myanmarese authorities for the safe release of the two journalists. “We are hopeful that they (journalists) would be deported within this week,” Singh said.

On Sunday, Indian Home Secretary R.K. Singh confirmed the detention of Moran and two Indian journalists by the Mynmarese army.

The self-styled Lt. Col. Moran, as he is known, is the second-in-command of the hardline faction of the ULFA headed by its military chief Paresh Barua, who is hiding somewhere in Myanmar.

The detained journalist and a photo-journalist are attached with a new Guwahati-based newspaper, Seven Sisters’ Post.

The duo is said to have travelled to Myanmar in a bid to interview Barua and the detention seems to have come about in that process.

Intelligence inputs earlier said Barua was operating from a zone between Chengdu province in China and Kachin state in Myanmar. Moran and the journalist were reportedly detained in the eastern part of Myanmar, bordering China.

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