Militants release eight hostages in Pakistan

July 25th, 2008 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 25 (Xinhua) Militants in Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt Friday released eight hostages, all government officials, two days after the army ended its operation in the area. The militants abducted the officials during the two-week long operation by security forces in Hangu district of North West Frontier Province, which left some 20 militants killed.

Earlier, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas had claimed that the government’s writ had been established in Hangu and militants flushed out of the area.

The district has seen a spate of attacks by militants since seven radicals were arrested during an operation by security forces two weeks ago.

The militants July 19 gunned down 16 paramilitary soldiers after ambushing their convoy in the district town of Zargari.

The Dawn newspaper said a grand jirga (elders’ council) consisting of tribal elders and local authorities signed a cease-fire agreement Thursday and agreed to resolve all disputes through talks.

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