KOHAT, March 13: Militants intercepted a passenger coach in Mamo Khwar area of Hangu district on Sunday and opened fire, killing 11 passengers and injuring six others.
The Peshawar-bound coach was coming from Parachinar.
Nine of the people killed in what appeared to be a sectarian attack were identified as Niga Hussain, Mahboob Hussain, Shehzad Hussain, Shahab Hussain, Wajid Hussain, Sarfraz, Mirza Hussain, Shabab Hussain and Sajid Hussain. The two other victims had not been identified till late in the night.
Police claimed to have killed three terrorists involved in an exchange of fire after the incident. Their bodies were taken to the Doaba police station.
Security forces launched a search in the area and arrested eight fleeing terrorists.
Hangu District Coordination Officer Adil Siddique told Dawn by telephone that six to seven militants injured in a clash with security forces a few days ago, had been under treatment in a private clinic.
He said that acting on a tip-off security forces raided the clinic and arrested four militants. Other terrorists emerged on the road and opened fire on the coach, killing the 11 civilians.
The DCO said that three seriously injured passengers were taken to Peshawar and others were admitted to the Hangu civil hospital. Three of them were discharged after first aid in Doaba.
In reply to question about the sectarian tension in Kurram agency and suffering of the people of Parachinar and other areas, he said the question should be put to the federal government or jirga members who had been trying for years for a peace deal between rival sectarian groups.
A local correspondent told Dawn that nine bodies had been taken to Parachinar from Hangu.
The Parachinar Highway was opened only last month after it had been blocked by militants for more than three years.
Heavy contingents of police commandos were deployed outside all Imambargahs in Hangu and Kohat districts immediately to prevent any clash.
But reacting to the killings, tribesmen kidnapped 20 people of the rival sect in a settled area and killed three of them in Parachinar bazaar. Others were taken to an unknown location. The local administration was trying to seek their release.
“It seems to be a sectarian incident, as all those killed in the firing were Shias,” senior local police official Abdul Rashid said.
Tori tribesmen demonstrated against the killing in Kurram Agency and called upon the government to bring culprits to justice.