PESHAWAR: At least six people, including women and children, were killed and four others were injured in a clash between security forces and militants in the Shalobar area of Bara tehsil, Khyber Agency on Tuesday, sources said.
There were conflicting reports about the incident. However, authorities confirmed that the victims were all civilians.
“These people have been killed by militants,” Bara subdivision Assistant Political Agent Rehan Gul Khattak told The Express Tribune, but stopped short of giving details about the exact number of deaths and the incident that led to the clash.
Another official of the administration told The Express Tribune that the deaths were caused by mortar attacks. He said that militants fired about 30 to 40 mortar shells in Bara, adding two mortar shells landed in two houses, killing two women. In another incident, about four people, including two children, were killed.
According to AFP, militants opened fire on the villagers. “Five villagers were killed and six were injured,” Sayed Ahmad Jan, a senior government official in Khyber, told AFP by telephone.
“Militants came in a pick-up and fired on the villagers who were standing on the side of the road,” Jan added.
An intelligence official in Khyber said that villagers were helping the Frontier Corps (FC) dislodge militants, confirming that paramilitary troops had launched a search operation in the area on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Shalobar, seven people, including two children and three women, were wounded when a mortar shell slammed into their home, Jan said. However, local sources said that the victims were killed in clashes between security forces and militants in the Shalobar area.
“The clash took place at around 11:00 am, when security forces launched an operation in the area to purge militants,” a local told The Express Tribune.
He said that locals were killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides, adding that two of the victims were women and four were children. However, their identities are yet to be ascertained.
Security forces have launched at least four operations in Bara tehsil of the Khyber Agency since June 2008.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.
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