DERA ISMAIL KHAN: At least five people, including the head of a peace committee, were killed and two others were injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in South Waziristan Agency on Thursday.

According to officials, peace committee commander Wali Jan Mehsud was on his way to attend a jirga along with his brother Ahmad Jan and tribal elders when the IED device went off near his vehicle in Spinkai at around 3.35pm.

“The vehicle was completely destroyed in the attack,” said an official of the local administration, adding that five people, including Wali Jan, died on the spot and two others suffered serious injuries.

Assistant Political Officer Arshad confirmed the blast and casualties in the area.

The injured — Ahmad Jan and Khalid — were shifted to a government-run hospital in Maulvi Khan Serai.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP-Mehsud chapter) claimed responsibility for the attack. Azam Tariq, who identified himself as a spokesman for the TTP-Mehsud chapter led by Commander Khan Said, told this correspondent that Wali Jan had been on the group’s hit list.

Names of other deceased were Malik Meewa Jan, Malik Zaman Khan, Malik Ahmad Gul and Malik Ardal Khan. “Two of them [deceased] were very influential elders of the area,” said the administration official.

Wali Jan belonged to Maulvi Khan Serai and according to locals he was one of the key commanders of TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone attack in Miramshah of North Waziristan Agency in 2013.

Wali Jan surrendered to security forces in operation Rah-i-Nijat and became head of the local peace committee to fight against militants, including the TTP. He had survived 12 gun and suicide attacks after renouncing militancy.

Hundreds of elders and members of the peace committees have been killed in bomb blasts, targeted killing and armed clashes with the militants in federally-administered tribal areas in the last decade.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2017

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