NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Four tribal elders were assassinated in another act of targeted killing in North Waziristan tribal district on Monday.
A police official told Dawn that the four elders were victims of targeted killing because they had no family feud.
The bloody incident took place in Mirali Bazaar, the second big town after Miramshah, the district headquarters of North Waziristan.
Eyewitnesses said that the assailants came in a vehicle of tinted glass and opened fire at the car in which the four elders of Khaisur area were travelling.
They said that assailants sprayed the car with the bullets from a close range and managed to escape. The elders identified as Malik Mir Saddy Khan, Malik Raza, Malik Abid Rehman and Malik Omar Khan died on the spot. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Incidents of targeted killing on rise in the area
The bodies of the deceased elders were shifted to tehsil headquarters hospital in Mirali.
Police reached the spot and besieged the crime scene. Sources said that tribal elders were on their way to Camp Tehsil for meeting with the local officials.
It was the second incident of targeted killing in the area within a week.
Earlier four daily wagers working for Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), the engineering wing of the army, were killed in Eppi area near Mirali last week.
They were travelling in a vehicle when gunmen fire at them.
North Waziristan, which was labelled a safe haven for local and foreign militants before operation Zarb-i-Azb in June 2014, has witnessed surge in violence including acts of targeted killing and roadside blasts.
Officials said that around 45 people including elders and women had been killed in acts of targeted killing since January this year.
Six people were also injured in these incidents. Police and other law enforcement agencies have yet to nab a single culprit.
The provincial government spokesperson, Kamran Bangash, said in Peshawar that all incidents including targeted killing in North Waziristan were being investigated.
He said that multiple factors including land and family disputes were contributing to surge in crimes in the tribal districts particularly in North Waziristan.
He said that situation had deteriorated after merger of local Khasaddar Force with police. He said that provincial police chief recently sought logistic support and policing infrastructure to enhance capacity of the force in the tribal districts. The government, he said, would meet all requirements of the force.
A data compiled by the home and tribal affairs department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, shows that North Waziristan topped the other tribal districts in crime rate in 2020.
Several hardcore militant commanders had been killed in intelligence-based operations in North Waziristan.
The data shows that total 44 cases of firing and 44 explosions of improvised explosive devices (IED) had occurred in North Waziristan, followed by the neighbouring South Waziristan where 20 cases of firing, 11 IED blasts and nine landmine blasts had occurred.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2020