PESHAWAR: Threats of a looming operation in Bajaur tribal region were momentarily defused on Wednesday after the Mamond tribe announced the formation a lashkar (militia) to fight against terrorists and added that large-scale preparations were under way in this regard.

Tribes along with the district administration reportedly set fire to several militant houses. Two suspected militants were killed whereas six others sustained injuries. An investigation is under way.

However, there was no confirmation from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Mamond tribesmen decided to form a peace legion against militants to support the administration in tracking down the assailants who had killed three security personnel including a Pakistan Army Captain on July 12 in Gahki Pass area.

Curfew was imposed in parts of Mamond Tehsil of Bajaur tribal agency as the political administration and the security forces with the support of the local tribesmen launched a search operation in the area.

The authorities had given a deadline to the Mamond tribesmen to hand over the suspects or an operation would be launched in the area.

Following which a representative jirga of the Mamond tribesmen had met the political authorities on Tuesday assuring them of their cooperation in tracking the culprits and action against militants.

The Mamnond tribesmen led by Haji Bismillah Jan and other elders have assured the authorities of their cooperation and they are meeting the security commanders to assure their support.

The political Tehsildar of Mamond Tehsil Haseeb Khan told Dawn.Com that the tribesmen are willing to cooperate with the government and those people who had moved out due to the threat of an operation have started moving back.

He said that the Mamond tribesmen had been asked to evacuate but following the jirga they had agreed to form various peace committees and maintain security on the border to stop militant infiltration and cross border attacks.

Thousands of people from five border villages of Mamond tehsil had fled their homes after the expiry of an evacuation deadline set by the political administration of Bajaur because of the likelihood of a military operation in the region.

The political administration of Bajaur Agency on Monday asked people living in five villages of Mamond tehsil — Nakhtar, Ghakhi, Mula Killi, Gohati and Kitkoot — to evacuate their homes by Tuesday morning.

In the past, elders of the Mamond tribe have lent their support to the administration in maintaining the government's writ in the region.

These developments comes as the Pakistan Army is engaged with Taliban militants in North Waziristan tribal region.

The military operation named Zarb-i-Azb was launched on June 15 following a brazen Taliban-claimed attack on Karachi's international airport and failure of peace talks between government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan negotiators.

About 900,000 persons from North Waziristan tribal region have been displaced so far in the wake of the operation, according to figures released by the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA).



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