Two killed in militant attack in Pakistan

 

Pakistani Taliban militants ambushed a van carrying pro-government tribal elders in a northwestern region, killing two tribal leaders and wounding seven others on Tuesday, police said.


The elders were returning to Mingora, the main town in the insurgency-hit Swat region, in an official van that authorities had earlier retrieved from rebels who hijacked it several months ago.

"The militants were unhappy with the efforts of the tribal elders to recover stolen official vehicles through a jirga (council)," police officer Humayun Khan said.

Police had launched a hunt for an unknown number of suspects, he added.

Swat, a picturesque valley nestled in the towering Hindu Kush mountain range, was a leading tourist spot until last year when a pro-Taliban cleric launched a campaign for Islamic sharia law in the area.

The army pushed thousands of troops into Swat in October to counter followers of Mullah Fazlullah, also known as "Mullah Radio" for broadcasting speeches over his private FM radio station.

Pakistan's army said in February it had cleared most of the valley, which has experienced several suicide attacks in recent months.

Separately four local government officials were wounded in a roadside bomb blast in Matta, another town in Swat, on Tuesday.

The officials were returning to their office from a visit to the area when their vehicle struck the bomb, police officer Akhtar Sharif said.


Militants have increased attacks on security forces and government buildings in recent weeks as the law enforcement agencies try to wrest control of some areas still in the control of militants.

A bomb went off in front of a government high school in Matta overnight, destroying the building but causing no casualties. Two policemen were wounded Monday when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb also in the same region. (AFP)

 

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