One security man was killed and three others were injured when militants fired eight rockets at a security check post near the Kari Kot Chowk of the Wana Bazaar and Scouts Camp, North Waziristan early Sunday morning.
Conflicting reports about the death of civilians surfaced after the incident. While an intelligence official told The Express Tribune that six civilians, including two women had died, the local political administration insisted that only two women had perished.
Security forces retaliated and the exchange of fire continued till dawn, with both sides using heavy and light weapons.
Seven people have been arrested from Karam Kot and taken to an undisclosed location by the security forces, the political administration said.
The security official killed was identified as Zakar Hussain Thori and the three injured were identified as Fida Mehsud, Amen Marwath and Nisar Kundi. The three injured personnel were shifted to a military hospital located in the Wana Scouts Camp, official told The Express Tribune.
Early on Sunday, security forces made announcements through loudspeakers and warned people in Wana Bazaar and the surrounding areas to vacate the region before launching a search operation.
Shortly afterwards, security forces, backed by gunship helicopters and tanks, entered Wana Bazaar and started a manhunt for militants belonging to the Mullah Nazir group.
Forces demolished the commander Malang’s office in the Shah Alam Adda area and commander Shamsullah’s office located close to the Wana Floor Mill in Wana Bazaar.
They also demolished a market and three shops which were reportedly being used by militants for attacking the Aman check post. Curfew was imposed and all the link roads to Wana Bazaar were sealed with all traffic and pedestrians barred from the area during the search operation.
Commander Shamsullah was killed in a drone strike about three months ago in Angor Tehsil of Wana sub-division of South Waziristan. Rapa Khan Zale Khel took over as the new commander in his place. Earlier, Malang was also seriously injured in a drone strike in the Mandatha area of Tehsil Birmal.
A resident told The Express Tribune, on the condition of anonymity, that there was “black smoke” over the Wana Bazzar and no one was allowed to go towards the area.
A shopkeeper, who was trapped in the Wana Bazaar inside his shop during the nighttime firing and managed to escape in the morning, said that he came across three shops which were razed to the ground and there were bullet holes on other shops.
“I am lucky enough to have come out alive from Wana Bazzar,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2012.