IMPHAL, April 26: In a big relief, three minor boys from Sairemkhun who had gone missing for weeks returned home today.
The three boys are Chanam Ajoynao alias Shantikumar, 15, son of Manglemjao; Soraijam Naothoibi, 15, son of Shamungou, both from Sairemkhun Maning Leikai; and Sapam Suran, 15, son of Naoba of Sairenkhun Kangdabi.
Sairemkhun is under the jurisdiction of Imphal West under Lamsang police station.
The three boys had remained untraceable since April 7 after they left home to watch a football tournament at Atong Khuman in the district. A missing report was also filed by their families at Lamsang police station on April 10.
Protests were organized by various Meira Paibi organisations in Sairemkhun demanding their safe release. The protestors also appealed to militant groups to free them if they were in their custody.
At around 6 am of April 22, unidentified persons telephoned to the trio’s families to recieve them at Moreh in Chandel district following which they were brought back home.
However, sensing reprisal, parents of the three minor boys first kept them at the office of Women Action for Development at Palace Compound here, and later on, they were brought back to their respective houses late afternoon yesterday.
The boys told the media that they left home around noon of April 7 to buy mobile phone recharge cards but Soraisam Ingo, 23, uncle of Naothoibi followed them as they walked towards a shop and later Ingo led them to a residence at Sagolband Moirang Hanuba in Imphal West.
Along came an unknown man, with whom they were taken to Khwairamband market in an auto rickshaw, they said. However, Ingo stayed back at Moirang Hanuba, they added.
They along with the unknown man stayed at a hotel for two days and from there, four of them left Imphal for Moreh in a van and that two unidentified individuals received them at Moreh, they further said.
The trio stayed another night at Moreh and they crossed Myanmar border the next day that is, April 10 and arrived at an underground camp, they told the media.
The boys said, at the camp they saw about 50 people who were in uniform and among them they could see seven women and two boys about their age but they were not newly recruited persons.
“You should live with your parents and leave the idea of joining the organization’, one of the cadres at the camp said.
According to Naothoibi, Ingo had asked them to join a particular underground group four days before they left for Moreh. He in turn asked Suran and Ajoynao to join the militant outfit, saying mobile phones would be provided to them.
Ingo, who was involved in the alleged recruitment of child soldiers, had been picked up by police commandos on April 3 but released and now he is undergoing treatment at a hospital.