=> MINGORA: Security forces on Saturday nabbed more t -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> MINGORA: Security forces on Saturday nabbed more t

MINGORA: Security forces on Saturday nabbed more than 100 suspected militants in freshly-launched search operations, among whom 41 were said to be aides of rebel cleric Maulana Fazlullah.

Military authorities told The News that security forces cordoned off the area around Kuza Bandai in Kabal Tehsil, which was once militantsí stronghold and started house-to-house search operation early in the morning, arresting over 100 suspected militants. However, majority was released after preliminary investigation.

They said 41 of them were identified as fighters of the militant commander Maulana Fazlullah among whom one Mohammad Rahim is said to be the brother-in-law of Maulana Fazlullah while others include Sher Ali and Ibrahim.

The forces have recovered sophisticated arms and ammunition from their possession, including rocket launchers, hand grenades and locally-made explosive devices. Personnel of bomb disposal squad accompanied the forces during the search operation. Official spokesperson Col Mohammad Nadeem has also confirmed the arrest of 41 militants by the forces. It is pertinent to mention here that due to heavy rains, the security forces kept their operations suspended for the last six days.

The militants are said to have fired seven rockets at the Kabal Police Station, which was retaliated with full force. However, no casualty has been reported so far.

Meanwhile, gunship helicopters pounded heavily on Totano Bandai and Manja strongholds of the militants.

According to latest available information, a number of militantsí houses have been demolished in these attacks while people of the area have once again started moving to safer places for shelter and security. A population of 30,000 has to suffer due to curfew and attacks in the area.

Not only frequent power breakdowns and disruption of telecommunication has aggravated the situation in restive Swat but shortage of edibles has also worsened it. People of the troubled district are on the verge of starvation these days.

Curfew continued on the seventh day in various villages of Swat, including Bareem Pul, Jura, Gurrah, Nazar Abad, Shangwatai, Arkot, Ronial, Sijbanr and Veenai Pul while curfew was relaxed till 11 am in Kanju, Kabal, Sherpalum, and from 6 am to 6 pm in Mingora and surrounding areas.

The security forces shot dead a local resident at Kabal checkpoint for allegedly violating the curfew. The deceased is said to be deaf and dumb and his body has been placed in Tehsil Municipal Administration offices for recognition. Another person was also critically injured during search operations in Kuza Bandai.

Source: The News
Date:1/13/2008