RAJANPUR/DERA GHAZI KHAN - Punjab police on Monday claimed to have recovered in a search operation the seven policemen who had been kidnapped here on Sunday.

The policemen were rescued after the Punjab police launched the operation for their safe recovery. All the seven cops were recovered after heavy exchange of fire between the kidnappers and the police.

The kidnappers, however, managed to escape taking advantage of the darkness of night. A search operation is underway to track them down, police officials said. The seven policemen namely Luqman, Zeeshan, Sabir, Shakir, Jamshed, Safdar and Muzammil, were on their way to a picket of Nabi Shah on a boat when they were abducted by 15 dacoits from the area of River Indus in the limits of Bangla Ichha police, Rajanpur on Sunday.

The seven police officials had been kidnapped in Rajanpur's Rojhan tehsil on Sunday morning allegedly by dacoits with ties to the Attaullah Pat gang.

Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP) Ramiz Bokhari said the police officers were on boat patrol in the riverine area when they were picked up by gang members who were hidden in the sugarcane fields area.

An assistant sub-inspector of the Bangla Iccha police station was among those kidnapped.