The operation against Chhotu Gang in Katcha area (river forests) in Rajanpur has been underway for last 16 days.
According to officials police, Rangers, Elite Force commandos and Counter-Terrorism Department personnel were taking part in the operation against bandits, codenamed Zarb-i-Ahan.
According to sources, the bandits have handed over the bodies of five policemen including SHO to police. The deceased have been named as SHO Hanif Ghori, Ajmal, Sakhi, Amanullah and Ubaidullah. The gang also released four injured policemen yesterday.
Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah has said that the Rangers have extended assistance to the police in the fighting against Chhotu Gang. The minister said that the military troops could be called for assistance in the fight against bandits.
According to sources, police and rangers have decided largescale airstrikes against the gang members. A ground operation will be launched for recovery of the policemen taken hostage by the gang.
Police and Rangers have called the deployment of additional contingents of the forces and cordoned off all entry and exit points of the ares.
In the fighting five bandits and six policemen have been killed, while around 150 facilitators of the gang have been detained with Indian made arms.
Kachi Jamal and Kachi Moro police posts have been in possession of the bandits’ gang.
The forces have made announcement in the area asking women, children and other people to evacuate the Indus river island and advised them to move to safer places. According to a police source, hundreds of people, mostly families of the bandits, have been living in the area for decades. The area borders Sindh and Balochistan provinces.
River forests along Indus
The river forests in Sindh and southern belt of Punjab have remain a hotbed of bandit gangs involved in kidnappings and other crimes on the both banks of the Indus River. These areas are inaccessible and virtually remained a no go area for police and other law enforcement agencies- thus remain an ideal refuge for the outlaws operating in the region.