Militants kill three, seize 30 security staff in Pakistan

July 29th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
Peshawar, July 29 (DPA) Islamic militants killed three intelligence officials and abducted 30 police and paramilitary troops in two separate attacks in the restive Swat valley of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, officials and the Taliban said Tuesday. More than a dozen heavily armed rebels opened fire on a vehicle carrying the three intelligence officers near the village Bishbanr in the Matta area of Swat district Monday. The officers died on the spot.

Major Farooq, a spokesman for the Pakistan Army in the region, confirmed the killings.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We had set up our check post in the area and the three officers were asked to stop there. They resisted and were killed in the exchange of fire,” Taliban spokesman Mulsim Khan told DPA over telephone.

Separately, some 200 militants surrounded a paramilitary Frontier Corps check post Tuesday and forced some 30 policemen and soldiers to surrender, Khan claimed.

“The seized security personnel will remain in our captivity till the government releases our colleagues,” he added.

Following the incident, the security forces exchanged heavy fire in Swat’s Kabal area. A mortar round hit a house, leaving one child dead and seven more people critically wounded.

Swat, which used to be a tourist haven, was plagued by violence last year when supporters of radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah tried to enforce strict Taliban-style laws, prompting government to send troops into the area.

Hundreds of people were killed before March, when the new government offered peace talks to the militants.

The ceasefire did not hold, as the rebels resumed attacks on the military which they claimed had first violated the truce conditions.

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