One militant and eight volunteer workers – including a top commander of a peace militia – were killed in a 12-hour-long skirmish in the Bukaar area of the Tirah valley in Khyber Agency on Sunday, the political administration said.
The battle was fought between Toheedul Islam and Lashkar-e-Islam over the occupancy of a strategically-located Stani check post in the tribal area.
The check post was under the control of peace militia Toheedul Islam which was taken over by the Lashkar-e-Islam and after a firefight in the area, three members of the peace militia were killed. Sources said that the peace militia continued to retaliate in order to recover the check post and after the battle which stretched overnight, they succeeded in taking control on Sunday.
Khalid Mumtaz, the assistant political agent of Landikotal, while confirming the incident said that the militants left an explosive device in Bukaar area of Landi Kotal which killed six members of Toheedul Islam. Sources said that a prominent commander of the peace militia, Naik Afzal Afridi, was also killed in the blast.
“It was a planted bomb and was detonated when the anti-militiamen reached a private checkpoint run by the militants, who had deserted the checkpoint,” Mumtaz told AFP.
Bukaar – a relatively remote area of the Tirah valley – administratively falls under the Landi Kotal sub-division where hundreds of people have lost their lives in clashes between militant outfits based on sectarianism.
However, the war between these factions has recently shifted to Peshawar and its outskirts where officials have traced back many suicide bombings and target killings to the Lashkar-e-Islam who have been vociferous about the notion that their rival groups are supported by the government.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2012.