At least six persons including five policemen were shot dead and three other persons were injured in shooting incidents in three separate parts of the district here on Tuesday.

According to police, four police constables were shot dead outside Manan Hotel in Latifabad Unit 4.

"Three assailants riding a motorbike opened fire on the policemen, three of whom were sitting in the mobile while one was returning after placing an order for tea at the hotel," DIG Naeem Akram Bharoka said adding that all the policemen belonged to A-Section police station in Latifabad.

According to him, the unidentified killers shot point blank at the policemen and escaped.

A 15- year- old boy, Muhammad Ismail, who worked as a waiter at the hotel was also injured by gunshot to his leg. The initial medical reports at Bhitai Hospital suggest that two policemen were hit in the head while one was shot in the chest and another in the neck.

Monitoring Adds: Separately, two policemen of Sakhi Pir Police Station were also targeted, resulting in serious bullet injuries. The bodies of the deceased policemen were shifted to Latifabad’s Bhittai Hospital while the injured were taken to Liaquat University Hospital.

“Yes, it was clearly a targeted killing of police,” said newly-appointed Hyderabad SSP Irfan Ali Bahadur. SSP Bahadur replaced his predecessor SSP Fida Hussain Mastoi only on Tuesday evening.

The police mobile was ambushed outside a hotel in unit-8 Latifabad by armed assailants. An employee of the hotel also received bullet injuries when the assailants fired on three policemen, who were sitting in the mobile. Their fourth colleague had gone to a nearby cabin to get cigarettes.

“He was targeted at the cabin by one of the assailants, who were three in total,” said a witness. Another eyewitness account said there were six assailants riding two motorbikes and not three.

Two injured policemen are from Sakhi Pir Police Station. A minor boy said, “They [policemen] had taken tea and were inside police mobile when I heard firing. I couldn’t see anything as I was busy in some other work in an outer corner of the hotel.”  The hotel owner avoided sharing any facts. “I couldn’t tell anything as I simply didn’t see anything. I had come to check my deep freezer when I heard firing and customers ran inside,” he told a media outlet.

“They [policemen] were my regular customers,” he added. According to a policeman, the assailants conducted the ambush with ease. “Initial information reveals that they [terrorists] struck in the area. Two of them went towards the police and sprayed them with bullets. They hit the fourth police constable who was at the cabin,” said the officer.

Panic gripped the area. Rangers also arrived in the area and blocked the road, disallowing entry of unconcerned people. Snap checking was ordered by police officers on main arteries and roundabouts.

Soon after Latifabad incident, two policemen were attacked in Liaquat Colony near a bakery. They were from Sakhi Pir Police Station.

Two unidentified armed assailants attacked them and fled. One policeman received bullet injuries in his chest while another in abdomen. “All possible links are being examined,” said SSP Bahadur, who accompanied DIG Akram Naeem Bharokha in LUH city branch to see injured police constables.

While these incidents were reported in quick succession, a private company security guard, Syed Akhtar Zaidi was gunned down in Latifabad unit-2 outside a beauty parlour.

Police officials doubt that he was targeted by the same people who killed the four policemen.

“They perhaps mistook him as a policeman as he was wearing a dark blue colour uniform of the company,” said a police official.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had expressed dissatisfaction over law and order situation in Hyderabad and had asked high ranking police officials to improve the situation and submit a report to him within a week.

Before SSP Fida Hussain, SSP Saqib Ismail Memon was also transferred for his failure to control crime. Hyderabad police have been unable to trace culprits of previous targeted killings.

Among those targeted included people from the Dawoodi Bohra community, along with activists of a religious group and six workers of Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Latifabad.