RAJANPUR -  Dacoits kidnapped seven police officers early Sunday morning as they were returning after performing duty at Indus Riverine Checkpost in Kacha area of Rajanpur.

Police said the dacoits gang wants several of its members who are behind bars to be freed.

However, Rajanpur police could not recover the seven kidnapped officers despite hectic efforts. Heavy contingent of police and Elite Force which were called in for recovering the abducted policemen have yet to make any progress.

Talking to The Nation, DPO Rajanpur’s spokesperson Zahid Akhtar said bandits gang belonging to Sikhani, Lund and Umrani tribes was behind abduction of the policemen namely assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Muzamil, constables - Jamshid, Safdar, Luqman, Zeeshan, Shakir and Sabir of Bangla Accha police in Rojhan circle, district Rajanpur.

These seven policemen were assigned duty at Indus Riverine Checkpost in Kacha area. Dacoits kidnapped the police officials when they were coming back in a boat.

To a question, Zahid said contact could not be established with the bandit gang so far.

Senior police officer Atiq Tahir said the police were returning by boat to the town of Rojhan, in Rajanpur district, from an outpost in a forested area along the Indus River when the gang captured them.

Tahir said police reinforcements with armoured vehicles were dispatched to the forest.

Another police officer said police are working with influential landlords to get the abductees freed. He said the gang is demanding the release of their arrested cohorts. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

According to DPO Rajanpur Attique Tahir and DSP Zafar Buzdar, the incident happened in the limits of Bangla Ichha police.

DSP Zafar Buzdar said dacoits allegedly belonged to different gangs, including Ameen Lund gang, Sikhani gang, Imran gang and Lashari gang.

The DPO hoped that police officials would be recovered very soon.

A large contingent of police cordoned off the surrounding areas and sealed all the entry and exit routes. Senior police authorities have formed special teams for the recovery of the kidnapped commandos.

It may be mentioned here that last year the ring leader of Chotu Gang of dacoits had laid down arms before the Pak Army during its grand operation. However, the accomplices of Chotu Gang leader have gotten active in the area once again.

Kacha area reportedly comprises three Indus islands - Kacha Karachi, Kachi Jamal and Baggiani - that had been notorious as a lawless haven for kidnappers and dacoits.

Meanwhile, local residents expressed anger over delay in awarding punishment to Chotu gang members cases against whom were still pending in courts for the last one year. They said due to poor administration of Rajanpur police and support of some politicians once again Kacha area had become a safe haven for dacoits.