Two peace committee members and a police constable were gunned down while two others were injured when militants ambushed their car in Bara Bhandai area of Swat on Wednesday.
Kabal DSP Bakht Siraj Khan told The Express Tribune that at 9:30am, Bara Bhandai village defence committee member Khalilullah Khan along with Shakar Dara peace committee member Naimat Ali Khan were on their way to Kabal in a car. They were accompanied by their guards, police constable Noorul Abideen and peace committee members Sher Nawab and Hazrat Hussain when unidentified militants sprayed their vehicle with bullets near Bara Bhandai Bazaar, killing Hussain, Abideen and Khalilullah on the spot.
Along with being a prominent peace committee member, Khalilullah was also a local leader of the Awami National Party (ANP).
The police official said after the firing, militants escaped while residents rushed to the site and shifted the bodies, along with the injured, to Saidu Teaching Hospital.
The hospital’s casualty in charge Dr Mian Gul Alam said the men were shot multiple times with assault rifles. The injured, Sher Nawab and Naimat Ali, were taken to the ICU due to their critical condition. “They sustained bullet injuries on sensitive parts of the body,” he added.
DSP Siraj explained that after the incident, heavy contingents of police, backed by security forces, rushed to the site and launched a search operation which continued till the afternoon, however, no one was arrested. He added a case was filed against unidentified militants and an investigation is under way.
Condemning the attack, ANP Swat President Sher Shah Khan said once again ANP was targeted by militants with the state completely unable to provide security to party workers and locals, adding Khalilullah’s family members have also been targeted before.
Bara Bhandai Village Defence Committee Chairman Javaidullah told The Express Tribune that Khalilullah’s bother was killed by militants last year while 11 members of Naimat Ali’s family have been killed by militants.
He lamented that the killing of peace committee members in Swat has increased in the last few months while no steps have been taken by the government to take counter measures.
The incident spread panic among residents of Kabal and Bara Bhandai while police and security forces increased vigilance in the area’s checkpoints.
On May 15 this year, the member of a peace committee was gunned down by militants in Mingora. Bakht Rawan was on his way home from a market on Kas Road in the city when two assailants riding on a motorcycle opened fire at him. Rawan was a member of the local peace committee for a year.
Similarly, on May 2, a militant wearing a suicide vest was surrounded by security forces and locals, forcing him to detonate his vest prematurely in Sarha Chena area of Charbagh tehsil of Swat. The suicide bomber’s intended target was Dr Farooq, a member of a village defence committee who also runs a clinic.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2014.
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