Some 200 heavily-armed militants stormed three paramilitary camps in Frontier Region Peshawar early on Thursday, killing two levies constables and kidnapping at least 22 others, according to officials.
The attackers surrounded a telephone exchange in the Koi Hasankhel area, which was being used as an outpost by the levies personnel, before moving on to two other posts in the Jani Khwar and Zakhi Sar areas. At least 18 men had been deployed at the exchange.
Two levies personnel were killed in the surprise attack while a dozen men were taken prisoner. At least 10 more levies personnel were captured from the other two camps and a cache of weapons and ammunition was seized. The militants blew up the exchange before escaping with the kidnapped paramilitary personnel.
“The exchange of gunfire lasted about an hour in which they killed two soldiers, wounded one and took away 22 others,” said local administration official Naveed Akbar.
A security official confirmed that 22 members of the law enforcement agency were missing from the camps, which lie about three kilometres apart from each other.
Talking to The Express Tribune, local elder Malik Feroz Khan said the two deceased personnel belonged to the Hasankhel clan.
“According to my information, at least 12 levies personnel were kidnapped from the exchange alone,” he said, adding that a few injured men managed to escape.
An official from the political office concurred with the possibility of survivors and maintained the authorities were searching for them. He added that they were also clearing debris from the destroyed telephone exchange in order to ascertain if there were any more deceased personnel.
Meanwhile, a jirga of local elders has been called in the Peshawar political agent’s office to discuss the situation.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2012.
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