GHOTKI: Sindh police have amped up preparations of a massive operation in riverine (katcha) area along the left side of the River Indus following an attack on a police party in which five policemen, including three officers, were killed.
Since the incident, around 300 police personnel have been deployed in the area and they have been provided seven armoured vehicles, said Raunti Station House Officer Abdul Shakoor.
It comes as the bandits and dacoits, who have long found refuge in the massive riverine area along the banks of the Indus with its inccessible terrain and forest cover, held a show of strength of its own. Videos uploaded on social platforms show these bandits displaying heavy weaponry.
The most brazen of these attacks took place earlier this month in which dacoits attacked a police party. Ghotki Deputy Superintendent of Police Abdul Malik Bhutto, Inspector Abdul Malik Kamangar, Sub-Inspector Din Muhammad Laghari, and two constables - Jatoi Khan Pitafi and Saleem Chachar - were killed in the attack.
The incident took place in an area - spread over rougly 50 kms - that lies at the junction of four districts: Sindh’s Ghotki, Kashmore-Kandhkot and Shikarpur with Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan. Dacoits from the riverine areas of Rajanpur in Punjab also cross over into the area.
The cops were killed when a group of around 150 dacoits their makeshift camp while the police was searching for one Rahib Shar, a notorious dacoit, over the kidnapping of three people, including two children.
The police party had set up camp at the residence of another man, believed to be a relative of the dacoit involved in the kidnapping. The dacoits attacked the party in the middle of the night, firing at least two dozen rockets at the police party that left five cops dead and injured three others.
It was reported that the dacoits took custody of the bodies, and only agreed to release them after the intervention of influential individuals of the area.
Since then, the area has been on a knife’s edge, with Sindh police increasing deployment. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has ordered a operation against those involved in the killing, and sought a report from the provincial police chief
There have been reports that around 300 dacoits of the Ranu Shar gang and Janu Indhar gang were present in the area on Thursday. The Indhar clan hails from the katcha (riverine) areas of neighbouring Rahim Yar Khan and routinely crosses over into Sindh - sometimes to collude with dacoits in neighbouring areas while clashing with them at other times
Evovling modus operandi
The dacoits of the riverine have long relied on brute force and speed in attacking their targets and then returning to the riverine areas.
More recently, there have been reports of entrapment, including using the honeytrap.
Using feminine voice, the abductors arrange a meeting with the victim and then taken them hostage.
They have also taken to putting up advertisements on social media, offering equipment and machinery at knock off prices. The unsuspecting buyers who take the bait are then taken hostage and not released until the payment of ransom.
Some people have reported that the dacoits also use blackmail, with at least one instance where the Indhars filmed a hostage while he was sexually violated.
Head money request
Ghotki Senior Superintendent of Police Tanveer Ahmed Tunio wrote a letter to the DIG Sukkur Range calling for announcing head money on 86 dacoits involved in the killing of the cops. The letter calls for Rs5 million bounty on each dacoit.
He had previousy sent a letter with 16 names, calling for the announcement of head money ranging from Rs10 million to Rs1 million.