Pro-Taliban militants behead more security personnel in Swat

November 14th, 2007 - 2:58 am ICT by admin  
A spokesman for pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah warned that there would be no peace in Swat until enforcement of Islamic rule.

The decapitated bodies of four security personnel were found on October 26.

“Two more policemen were beheaded on Saturday and also seven civilians,” NWFP Home Secretary Badshah Gul Wazir said.

Wazir described the executions as a militant ploy to “terrorise” the people.

However, reports put the unofficial death toll among police and paramilitary soldiers at 12.

Maulana Sirajuddin, spokesman for Maulana Fazlullah, later offered talks with the government to end the violence, but Wazir denied any such offer had been received, Aaj News reported.

eanwhile, militants armed with assault rifles and walkie-talkies guarded the approach to the stronghold of radical cleric Fazlullah, whose mission is to spread fundamentalist Islam.

A foreign news agency reported that scores of militants lurked outside the madrassa, the complex near the village of Imam Dheri was largely empty after Friday’s fighting when militants traded rocket and gunfire across the river with security forces backed by helicopter gunships. At least three people died in the clashes.

“He (Fazlullah) is here and we are in contact,” Fazlullah’s spokesman, Sirajuddin, said.

Swat, once famed as a tourist resort, has become embroiled in violence in the past three days.

A suicide bomber hit a truck carrying soldiers in the main district town, killing 20, after the government deployed paramilitary troops in the region.

When security forces launched their assault, militants retaliated by kidnapping and beheading 13 people elsewhere, accusing them of being American spies.

However, Sirajuddin denied involvement in the bombing and claimed that local villagers sympathetic to the militants had executed the abducted men, who included six security forces personnel.

“If a military operation starts against us there will be suicide attacks as well as a guerrilla war,” he said.

Hostilities would cease if Shariah was adopted and the government released Sufi Muhammad, Fazlullah’s father-in-law who was jailed in 2002 for having sent thousands of volunteers to Afghanistan during the US-led invasion in 2001.

Sirajuddin said tensions in Swat had risen in the wake of the Pakistani army raid on the Lal Masjid complex in Islamabad.

“The situation in the whole country, particularly here, has changed because of the Lal Masjid,” the Daily Times quoted Sirajuddi, as saying. “This situation is the reaction to Lal Masjid.” (ANI)

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