20 die as Swat fighting resumes after temporary ceasefire

November 14th, 2007 - 8:12 am ICT by admin  
According to government officials, at least 20 people, including 15 to 18 militants, were killed and 17 others injured in the clash in Matta subdivision. Deceased also include Tariq, a close aide of Maulana Fazlullah.

The News quoted senior security officials and people close to militants as saying that Fazlullah and his aides had now lost control over his “guest fighters”, who arrived there from Mirali in North Waziristan, Darra Adam Khel in FR Kohat, Bajaur Agency and some other areas to fight alongside the Fazlullah-led fighters against the security forces.

After two days of tense calm and unannounced ceasefire, military gunship choppers suddenly appeared in the air on Wednesday afternoon, and started targeting hideouts of the suspected militants in Sambat, Baryam, Baidara and Pir Kallay villages of Matta subdivision.

On Tuesday night, militants burnt three police posts, got control of hospitals and took away five government vehicles parked at healthcare centres. The anti-polio campaign was also cancelled due to uncertain situation in the valley.

NWFP Home Secretary Badshah Gul Wazir told the daily that the action was taken after an attack by the militants on Kabal police station, explosion near the Police Lines and searching of local residents travelling in their private vehicles and forcing them to wear black turbans.

“A number of residents approached us today and complained of humiliating treatment meted out to them by these miscreants. They have started searching people and asking them to produce their identity cards which was not acceptable to the people,” Wazir said.

He further said that security personnel deployed in Matta were now feeling themselves in a better position as they forced the armed militants on retreat when they brought their injured to the hospital and insisted to go inside the hospital with arms.

Wazir went on to say that the government had neither announced ceasefire nor sent jirga for negotiations with the militants.

Meanwhile, Sirajuddin, a spokesman and military commander of Maulana Fazlullah, while talking to The News on his cellular phone from an undisclosed location, said that two of their men died in the shelling.

Sirajuddin was quoted a saying that their people, collecting donations for colleagues in Sambat village close to Matta town, were targeted by the military choppers. He denied the presence of foreign militants in Swat and claimed that their men were in full control of the region adding resistance against the security forces was led by Maulana Fazlullah.

“The government says there is a foreign hand behind us in the resistance movement. It should see itself who is behind it in the fight against its own people,” he said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of local residents in Kanju held a peace walk and demanded of the two sides to stop the bloodbath of innocent people. Led by Professor Mian Noor Nawab and Syed Inamur Rahman, president and secretary general of Islahi Committee respectively, they demanded the government to fulfil its promise of enforcement of Shariah in Swat, made with the people in 1994. (ANI)

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