Months after Taliban attacked the Central Jail in Bannu, there are intelligence reports of a similar attack on the Mansehra district jail. To avoid a repeat of what happened in Bannu, security has been beefed up here, official sources said on Friday.
An official said that the district administration has received intelligence reports regarding the attack of Taliban at the district jail for the release of some of the prisoners. They added that according to the report, the Taliban could enter the jail premises and get hold of some officials in uniform. However, as pre-emptive measures, the administration has deployed over two dozen personnel of elite force who will not only keep a vigilant eye on those entering the jail but also guard the gates and boundary walls.
Furthermore, the jail administration will install CCTV cameras and search lights on the boundary walls and important entry and exit points of the prison. Those visiting the jail inmates would also undergo necessary frisking, official sources said.
“We are taking such measures for the security of the prisoners and trying to avoid a repeat of the Bannu jail episode,” said an official requesting anonymity. He confirmed that some Taliban were also imprisoned in the district jail.
Some two days back, he said, the jail sentries guarding the boundary wall pickets spotted some suspects near the jail area. But they fled when the guards opened fire at them. He added that the jail has over 700 prisoners.
Two weeks back, Battagram police had arrested two Taliban leaders from a village and one of them was reportedly a close aid of Maulvi Fazlullah. The two were also reportedly being kept in Hazara.
Last week’s planting of four improvised explosive devices at a CD shop was also being considered as part of retaliatory steps by the Taliban who, according to police sources, are planning to carry out terrorist attacks in two districts of Battagram and Mansehra in near future.
The security around Haripur jail has already been tightened. The police have erected two pickets of elite force on both sides of the road leading to central jail while the road will remain closed for all kinds of traffic and pedestrians’ use from 10pm till 8am daily, said an official.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2012.