Islamabad: The Pakistani military on Wednesday rescued 24 policemen who had been held hostage by a gang of heavily armed criminals on an island stronghold.
The ringleader and 13 other gang members surrendered unconditionally following a raid, military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said on his official Twitter account.
Police in Pakistan’s Rajanpur district began an anti-criminal operation against the group on April 1, officials said, with police confining the gang members to an area of the island in southern Punjab province.
The hunt to find the remaining criminals is continuing, with more than 100 still at large.
The operation involved about 1,500 officers attempting to raid the gang’s base and the 24 policemen were taken hostage on April 14 while the mission was still ongoing.
Gangsters killed six policemen the following day as they tried to reach the island on boats to help their colleagues.
That same day the Pakistani army deployed 150 soldiers to help with the rescue effort.
Bajwa said family members of the gangsters were recovered safely from the island including 24 women and 44 children.
“Combing op will be carried out to cleanse area. Chotu (the gang’s ringleader) will be transported & interrogated. No go areas will be eliminated from across country,” he said on Twitter.