Source AP ©

Pakistan police kill 7 escaping prisoners

Police killed seven prisoners in a shootout near a village in eastern Pakistan, hours after they and two other inmates escaped from a prison van by killing two guards.

The van was ambushed by unidentified gunmen near the village of Nandi Pur, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Lahore, when the guards were transporting 13 prisoners from a court to a jail. Two guards died in the attack.

Khadim Hussain Bhatti, the district police chief, said seven of the nine escaped prisoners were later spotted near a forest. "They were asked by police to surrender, but they opened fire," he said.

An ensuing shootout left all seven prisoners dead, and police were searching for the two other escapees, he said.

Bhatti's comments came hours after he told reporters that police had recaptured six of the prisoners after a chase.

"We initially thought that we have caught six prisoners, but later they turned out to be local villagers," he said.

Bhatti denied rumors that the seven prisoners were killed in a fake encounter.

He said none of the prisoners was linked to terrorism or other high-profile crimes.

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