Rescue efforts fail in Hajin, 12-yr-old boy killed before militants slain

Rescue efforts fail in Hajin, 12-yr-old boy killed before militants slain
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Bandipora SSP says Ali, a notorious Pakistani militant, kept the boy hostage

Hajin (Bandipora): A 12-year-old boy kept hostage by two militants, identified by police as Pakistanis affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), died along with them after the militants ignored appeals for the boy’s release from his mother and from the local Auqaf committee, while police’s efforts to rescue the boy by sending in special teams also failed, here in Hajin area of Bandipora.
Charred bodies of the boy and of the two militants were recovered from the rubble of the house after government forces blasted it with explosives on Friday. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Bandipora, Rahul Malik, in a press conference held here stated that the kid who was taken hostage was killed by one of the militants before he could be rescued.
The SSP said that government forces had been receiving inputs about the presence of militants in Hajin for at least the “past one week”.
“In the process, we conducted many CASOs. Yesterday we conducted three CASOs and the last one resulted in a chance encounter,” Malik said.
He said that during the operation, which started at 9am, they had to tackle a hostage situation. “Initially we were able to rescue six trapped civilians but later we came to know that two more civilians were taken hostage by the militants,” Malik said.
“The hostages included a 12-year-old kid, Aatif Shafi Mir, and his uncle, Abdul Hameed Mir, 60. We were able to rescue the uncle of the child, though the child himself remained hostage.
“To rescue the child we tried different ways, which included announcements and appeals from the local Auqaf community to militants. Special teams for room intervention were also brought and by the time they went to the third floor, the firing from militants intensified.
“Later, the mother of the child was also brought, who went inside the house where militants were trapped and appealed for the son’s release, but they (militants) again fired from within the house.
“Then we again appealed for the child’s release in presence of the Magistrate, but the efforts did not succeed. The firing intensified and we also retaliated. In the process, two militants known only by their aliases, Ali and Hubaid, were killed,” Malik said.
The SSP added, “According to the rescued civilian, the boy was being held hostage by Ali, who did not allow the boy to get out. It’s basically he (Ali) who killed the boy before our forces stormed the building.”
The reason the kid wasn’t released, Malik said, was that “Ali wanted to marry some girl, so he basically wanted the family of the girl to bring her to him. Only then he would release the child.”
Malik said that rescue efforts continued for at least 9 hours, from 9am to 6 in the evening.
He said Ali was also believed to be involved in civilian killings in Hajin. “He was seen roaming with a long knife in Hajin to scare people. The knife has also been recovered,” the SSSP told reporters.