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16 killed as Lyari gangs attack each other with RPGs, grenades

13 March, 2014

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KARACHI: Heavily armed gangsters showered grenades at a crowded market of the volatile Lyari neighbourhood on Wednesday, killing 16 people, including seven women and two children, and wounding more than 55 others in one of the first and the nastiest, attacks of its kind in the city, police said.

The bizarre attack was carried out in an apparent bid to avenge the overnight killing of a notorious member of a splinter group of the outlawed Peoples' Amn Committee of Lyari by the paramilitary Rangers, Karachi Police chief's spokesperson Atiq Ahmed Shaikh told our sources.

Police and Rangers personnel swung into action following the assault, killing at least eight gangsters — mostly belonging to the Baba Ladla group — in a series of encounters in various parts of Lyari. "We have so far gunned down eight gangsters of the Baba Ladla and his allied criminal gangs in various encounters," a senior official of the Sindh Rangers told our sources. "We are using maximum available force and resources against these killers."

The gangsters fired at least eight to 10 rifle-propelled grenades on the unsuspecting shoppers at around 11:30am in Lyari's Jhat-Pat Market in Kalakot area, creating mayhem as men, women and children ran for cover. The gangsters were holed in the nearby Rangi Wara and Gul Muhammad Lane, eyewitnesses said.

It was the morning rush-hour at the market where shoppers, many accompanied by their children, were busy buying vegetables and grocery.

"I was buying vegetables from a vendor when I heard explosions and people started running for cover," said Wahid Baloch, a motorcycle mechanic, who sustained multiple wounds to his legs, abdomen and an armby splinters of a grenade. "I tried to run for cover, but a grenade landed nearby and knocked me down," he said at the emergency ward of Karachi's Civil Hospital. "When I regained consciousness, I found myself in hospital."

Bodies of 15 persons were brought to hospital, while one succumbed to his injuries during treatment, hospital staff said. "We have admitted at least 39 injured for treatment out of a total of 55 brought here. The others left after first-aid," said Nisar Shah, a Medico-Legal Officer at the Civil Hospital.

He said the injured included men, women and children of all ages, who sustained splinter and burn injuries. A large number of family members, relatives and friends of victims of the attack gathered at the hospital where emotional scenes were witnessed as people tried to locate and identify their near and dear ones. Most dead bodies were removed from the hospital by their relatives without any legal formalities, doctors said.

Those who were killed in the attack are Abdul Malik, Amina Bibi, Ahmed Hussain, Shahzad, Fazila, Syed Ahmed, Abdul Ghaffar, Nabeel, Sattar, Amina Khan, Azan Anwar, Aran, Amir Hussain, Hameeda, Nabeela and Shahida.

Senior police and Rangers officials said that the attack on the Jhat-Pat Market was carried out by the Baba Ladla-Ghaffar Zikri group after a notorious gangster Fateh Muhammad Zikri was killed by the security personnel in the Ali Muhammad Mohalla of Lyari overnight. Fateh Muhammad Zikri was the brother of Ghaffar Zikri.

"Apparently, members belonging to the Baba Ladla-Ghaffar Zikri group got infuriated after the killing of Fateh Muhammad Zikri," said the Rangers official requesting anonymity. "They were also angry because of the execution of five relatives of one of their key members — Lala Orangi Wala — in Muach Goth on Sunday night by the members of a rival gang," he said.Soon after the attack, police and Rangers jointly launched a massive crackdown in which armoured personnel carriers and heavy machine gun-mounted vehicles were used.

Two gangsters Adil alias Badal and Naseeb alias Eppi were killed in the Usmanabad area of Garden in an encounter with police and Rangers, while three others were killed in another joint encounter in the Rangi Wara area of Lyari, Karachi Police chief Shahid Hayat said.

Three more gangsters were killed when heavy contingents of police and Rangers surrounded them in Chakiwara, but they fired on the security personnel and were killed in the ensuing encounter, he said.

"Police and Rangers are present inside Lyari with all their resources," Hayat said. "We will not spare even a single gangster involved in the carnage of innocent women and children."The other gangsters killed in encounters have been identified as Saddam, Usman, Hanif, Fateh Khan, Adnan Asif and Farman, he added.

Two policemen, Ghulam Hussain and Wajid Bangash, and three Rangers personnel were also wounded in the armed clashes.A total of 24 persons, including eight gangsters, had been killed in Lyari till the filing of the report on late Wednesday night.

Our Islamabad correspondent adds: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday directed to review the strategy for improving the law and order situation in Karachi in view of the violent incidents taking place in the city‚ particularly in Lyari.

A spokesperson for the PM Office said the premier discussed the law and order situation in Karachi with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and talked about various options to improve it.

He further said that the prime minister had decided to visit Karachi this week to personally monitor the situation and give new directions to improve law and order there.The spokesperson said the DG Rangers also briefed the premier on incidents of violence in Lyari and presented a report. He said the prime minister during his visit to Karachi would get briefing from all heads of security institutions.

End.

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