Kohat: Taliban kill 17 FC men
KOHAT: Seventeen Frontier Constabulary personnel were killed on Saturday after militants ambushed an FC convoy in Hangu district. Several soldiers were injured in the attack. Officials said the convoy was ambushed by the Taliban while it was on its way to Doaba from Fort Zargari.
During the 40-minute-long encounter, one local militant ‘commander’, Razeem, was killed and two of his colleagues were injured.
No reinforcements were sent to help the convoy ward off the attack, which took place in an area where two security vehicles were attacked just a few hours before the deadly ambush.
Helicopter gunships pounded surrounding hills where militants were believed to be hiding. Mullah Sanaullah, a militant ‘commander’, sent a message to the administration after the ambush that his forces would attack security officials if they came to collect the bodies lying in vehicles.
The administration sent a two-member delegation, comprising MNA Pir Haider Ali Shah and Hangu district nazim Khan Afzal, to go to a seminary in the Kahi village and constitute a jirga of clerics for talks with militants on retrieving the bodies and the injured. The jirga is expected to come back in case talks are successful and hand over the bodies early in the morning.
Noorzad, a local, told Dawn that the bodies, including that of the convoy’s commanding officer, were lying inside the vehicles. Three of the soldiers had been slaughtered by Taliban before they left the area, he claimed.
The Kahi seminary is supposed to be managed by Rafiuddin, an aide to Baitullah Mehsud’s deputy. Rafiuddin is currently in the custody of security forces. Clashes erupted after the administration refused to release him.
Jirga members also accused the government of rigidity regarding a request for the handing over of the three militants who were among seven people arrested by police during a flag march on Thursday. The jirga had suspended talks on Friday.
In the first incident, which occurred near the Zargari toll plaza, the militants attacked an FC convoy, but security personnel escaped unhurt. However, a boy was seriously injured in shooting by the militant.
Earlier, security forces arrested four suspects from a car after the driver ignored a warning to stop at a checkpost in the Doaba bazaar. The vehicle was impounded after a chase by security personnel.
Doaba, Thall, Zargari, Tora Warai, Chappri, Togh Sarai and Hangu towns remained tense for a third consecutive day.