SADIQABAD-Punjab Police on Friday launched an operation against criminal gangs in Katcha area of Sadiqabad to recover two people abducted by a gang of bandits.

The police department has launched operation against Qabil Mazari gang and other outlaws in Katcha area, police officials said.

The gang of bandits had kidnapped two persons and took refuge in riverine forests, sources said. The gang has demanded ransom for safe release of the hostages.

Police said that safe recovery of the two hostages is priority of the department.

Police using armoured carriers and heavy weapons in operations against bandits in Katcha area, sources said.

Police launches operation almost every year against bandits in the Katcha area across 50 square kilometres of the Indus River. These areas fall into many districts in Punjab and Sindh provinces. The authorities claim that dacoits manage to resettle into the area after each operation.

Many of the operations have been botched attempts in which either the police officers sacrificed their lives or were held hostage. In 2016, a grand operation was launched by the Punjab Police. In the operation, seven policemen were killed and 20 were held hostage by the Chhottu Gang of bandits.

Later, the army and Rangers were called in and the gang finally surrendered to the police.

The riverine forests in the province of Sindh and southern belt of Punjab have historically 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 a ‘no go area’ for police and other law enforcement agencies. So as, remain an ideal refuge for the fugitives and bandit gangs operating in the region.