LAHORE – Dacoits on Tuesday struck another bank, overpowered the security guards, and fled away after collecting Rs3.5million in broad daylight from Ichhra area, police sources claimed. They revealed that highly-trained gangs were behind the recent spate of high-value armed robberies in which the professional gangsters targeted banks and jewellery shops in different parts of the City and made off with cash and gold ornaments worth millions of rupees. Eyewitnesses told the police that six gunmen stormed into the branch of Bank Al-Falah and assaulted the security guards with the butts of rifles. They also held up the visitors and entire staff at gunpoint and escaped after collecting Rs3.5million. The gunmen did not open fire on the guards but hit them with the butts of their guns when they tried to offer resistance, police investigators said. The bank-robbery, which took place at the branch of a multinational bank situated at Ferozpur Road in Ichhra police vicinity on early Tuesday, is said to be the 15th such incident since April last year. Gangsters hit four branches of different banks and fled away after collecting millions of rupees this year so far. The police are still groping in the dark with no clue. “The gangs involved in the spate of jewellery-shop and bank robberies are well-trained and well-organised. Therefore, the inept policemen are unable to track down the gangsters,” a security expert said. According to the police, the gangsters also tortured two security guards on putting up resistance and snatched away their guns as well. The police arrived at the crime scene when the robbers had escaped without facing further resistance, eyewitnesses said while criticising poor police response.  Till Tuesday evening, the administration was going through the bank record to calculate the exact amount, the robbers took away. However, a police source said the dacoits snatched away worth Rs3.5million from the bank. “The bank robbery happened in just 90 seconds. Six gunmen forced their entry into the bank, overpowered the guards, held up the staff and fled away with cash bags,” a police investigator said. The security guards were shifted to a local hospital for medical treatment, though they sustained minor injuries. The frequent bank robberies have also put a question mark on the performance of the City police as the investigators have badly failed to trace these gangs. The modus operandi suggests that the same gang is behind all the bank dacoities which took place in Lahore since last year, police investigators say. According to initial investigations, all the six bandits are Pushtuns-linked to a banned militant outfit as the experts are examining the eyewitnesses’ account and evidences collected from the crime scene. The forensic experts also reached the spot and collected fingerprints of the accused to establish identity of the criminals.Police sources said different militant groups linked to a banned outfit were involved in what appeared to be well-organised bank robberies to help finance their militant wings. Bank officials told the police that the robbers were bearded men and aged between 22 to 24-year. The Ichhra police have registered the case against six gunmen on the complaint of bank manager, Amir Waheed, and are investigating with no arrest made so far. According to the police investigators, the bank administration handed over the footage taken from the CCTV cameras installed in the bank to help the police investigators establish the identity of the robbers. On April 19, gunmen stormed a bank in Shadman area, and got away with Rs3 million cash during broad daylight robbery. On January 27, at least six militants struck a commercial bank in Johar Town area and escaped after collecting Rs 3.5 million in similar style during daylight robbery. Last year, gangsters struck at least 12 branches of different private and commercial banks situated here in different parts of the Punjab Capital and snatched away millions of rupees but the police have miserably failed to nab any of the gangsters. Ironically, despite being given proof in the shape of video clips, the cops have failed to arrest or identify any of the robbers.