A suicide bomber targeted a pro-government militia on Thursday, killing the militia chief’s son and wounding at least five others in Upper Dir, officials said.
A conflicting report by state news, however, suggested that three people were killed. According to APP, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that three volunteers of the militia were killed, while nine others were injured in the attack.
District Coordination Officer Riaz Mehsud told reporters that the bomber targeted Chief of the National Peace Lashkar Malik Mutabar Khan, who was residing at a local hotel in the main market of Upper Dir district. The chief’s son Sher Alam was killed in the attack, while another son, Masood, sustained injuries.
The DCO said that the bomber tried to enter the hotel, but drew suspicion upon asking about Khan.
According to sources, Khan’s son Sher Alam confronted the bomber, prompting the bomber to detonate the explosives strapped around his body.
Sher Alam was killed on the spot. The injured were shifted to hospitals in Lower Dir, where two of them are said to be in critical condition.
One of the injured victims, Sher Ali, told The Express Tribune that the bomber appeared 18 to 22 years of age.
Security officials cordoned off the area and a search operation was launched.
According to the APP, however, the attack took place when the bomber was intercepted by the security men at the entrance of the DCO Office where a jirga of the militia was under way. The information minister denounced the suicide attack and termed it a heinous crime against humanity. He said that the government was taking concrete steps to wipe out militancy, adding that “such cowardly acts could not deter our resolve to establish peace in the area”.
Police have rounded up some 29 suspects during a search operation.
ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2012.