Pakistan militants threaten to kill captured security men

July 11th, 2008 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
Islamabad, July 11 (DPA) Pro-Taliban militants threatened Friday to start executing 27 law enforcers they captured a day ago in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) if the government did not free their colleagues in police custody. Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar said among the captured security personnel were 12 soldiers from Pakistan Army, eight paramilitary troops from Frontier Corps, and seven belonging to the police force.

“If the government does not release our people, stop the operation in Hangu district, and restore the telephone connections in the area by tomorrow, we will start killing security personnel one by one,” he was quoted as saying by the Dawn news channel.

Hundreds of heavily-armed Taliban besieged a police station in Hangu Wednesday after the police arrested seven of their comrades in an operation in the area.

When the government dispatched some 700 regular army troops to the area, rebels ended the siege early Thursday. But they captured 27 security personnel before the retreat.

This led to an operation in the area under which the security forces have detained dozens of suspected Taliban and their supporters.

The Pakistani government, however, refused to accept the militants’ demands.

“We will not bow to any threat from the miscreants. No insurgent will be released and the operation will continue,” Rehman Malik, a top official at the interior ministry, told reporters in Islamabad.

The militants are loyal to Baitullah Mehsud, a top Taliban commander based in South Waziristan. His group has sanctuaries for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters launching cross-border attacks on NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan.

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