PESHAWAR: Armed militants kidnapped 15 security personnel, and killed one in a pre-dawn attack on the Frontier Constabulary at Mullazai Fort, in Tank district, according to Commandant Frontier Constabulary Abdul Majeed Marwat.
The pre-dawn attack took place 35 kilometres north of Tank, the southern district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
A security official said that the attack took place some two hours after midnight when heavily armed militants fired rocket-propelled grenades destroying six rooms of the fortress.
One security person, Muhammad Yaseen, died instantly, while two others Afzal Khan and Fazal Kareem were injured.
A senior Tehreek-e-Taliban commander, speaking to local reporters from an undisclosed location, claimed responsibility for the assault.
Commander Asmat Ullah Shaheen claimed that the kidnapped men were in his custody. No immediate demands were put forth.
Marwat confirmed news of the kidnappings to the The Express Tribune. “Fifteen of our men are missing following the attack. Some weapons have
also been taken away by the militants,” he said. Local sources said the number of kidnapped men was actually 19, but this could not be confirmed officially.
Militants reportedly set fire to two barracks and four rooms burning all the security personnel’s belongings. Sources said that the firing was heard for almost half an hour.
The Mullazai area of Tank is on the border of the Frontier Region (FR). The troops of the Frontier Constabulary are kept in these buffer zones between the tribal and settled areas to maintain law and order. The Fort which is used during military operations to bombard militant hideouts with artillery shelling has been attacked on numerous occasions.
Immediately after the attack a large number of security personnel were deployed at the site and a search operation was launched. The exit and entry points of Tank had high level security measures in place, according to the locals.
An official from the area said that the kidnapped men were most likely taken to the tribal area. The incident is first of its sort since the conclusion of the military operation in the nearby South Waziristan Agency. In May this year, over 70 FC recruits were killed in a twin suicide attack in Shabqadar.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2011.
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