Two killed as IDPs clash with security forces in Bannu

Residents say IDPs were protesting against a lack of facilities at camp when security forces opened fire

Afp June 22, 2015
File photo. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: At least two internally displaced persons (IDPs) were killed and 10 wounded after soldiers fired at them, an official said on Monday.

The incident on Sunday evening comes a year after the army began a major offensive in North Waziristan to wipe out militant strongholds, which it has hailed as a resounding success.

According to a senior security official who declined to be named, a clash broke out when a boy was asked to register as he left a camp in Bannu, a major centre for people forced from their homes by the fighting.

Read: A helping hand: Repatriating IDPs is govt’s top priority: governor

"When his father came, during the process of registration, there was exchange of harsh words and a brawl between security officials and the man," the official said.

"After this brawl, he went inside the camp and brought many people with him who started protesting outside the camp and also hurling stones on the soldiers."

The official said two IDPs were shot dead in the ensuing clash, a death toll confirmed by three civilian administrators who also declined to be named.

The security official added that 10 IDPs were wounded, as were four soldiers.

Read: Promises: ‘Govt committed to facilitating IDPs’

The conflict zone has been off-limits to media, making it hard to verify the identity of those killed independently.

Ghairatullah, a 39-year-old cattle herder displaced by the military operation who lives in the camp, blamed the army for allowing the situation to escalate.

"A soldier began beating one of the guys. It created anger among the locals. And they tried to restrain him. Then the rest of the soldiers joined in with the beating and it spread panic," he said.

"We were helpless, we had nothing. We picked up stones and threw them at the soldiers to stop them beating our friends but they began firing and started killing us," he added.

Bushra Gohar, a local politician and rights activist, said the killings punctured the government's triumphant narrative regarding the North Waziristan operation.

"There are still over a million IDPs (internally displaced persons) living in miserable conditions away from their homes, with no signs of reconstruction or rehabilitation of their destroyed homes and livelihoods," she told AFP.

She added that the Taliban's main leaders remained at large, and called for a parliamentary review of the offensive with greater media access to the war zone.

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COMMENTS (12)

mazhar abbas | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend cant believe idps version of the story. there must be something serious otherwise soldiers abide by rule of engagments.
A | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend This is the most shameful news of this year. Alas! not a single statement from entire political or military leadership. Truly disgusting.
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