More than 100 militants arrested in Dir

April 15, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Security forces have arrested 150 suspected militants, including 10 key commanders, in a huge search operation in the Lower Dir district of the NWFP, officials said on Wednesday.

The operation was conducted in Rana Manzai, Chinargai, Koro Bagh, Luqman Banda, Lajbook and Darmaan areas of Maidan sub-division, security officials told The Express Tribune. The houses of 6 militant commanders were destroyed during the 17-hour-long operation. Five hundred personnel participated in the operation jointly conducted by the army, paramilitary Frontier Corps and police.

A huge quantity of arms, including 5 FMGs, 5 AK-47s, and six pistols, and 2 wireless sets were recovered. During the operation the family of man who blew himself up in the GHQ attack was also taken into custody. Sources said that army uniforms were also recovered from elsewhere, but did not specify how many.

Saeed Gul, a former MPA, said the locals of the Korobagh village had been told to hand over 31 wanted militants. However, since the locals refused to cooperate, the operation was launched. Qadeer, a resident of the Lal Qala area, the native town of TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad, said: “We were told not to leave our houses. All educational institutes and hospitals have been closed after a curfew was clamped in the area.”

He continued: “Troops are blowing up houses of militants. My family is scared that another operation has started and we might have to leave our homes once again.”

The military offensive in Lower Dir’s Maidan area had subsided after the military carried out a surgical operation in Malakand Division.

However, recent incidents of violence have once again put the security forces in an active mode. On February 3, a convoy of security personnel carrying US military personnel was also attacked in Maidan causing the death of foreigners. Last week, two schools were burnt in Maidan. The area is still in mourning after a suicide attack in a rally called by the ANP on April 5 killed 55 people and left more than a hundred injured.