Remains of 16 kidnapped miners found in mass grave

Published April 10, 2021
Relatives and officials with coffins carrying remains of the coalminers in Darra Adam Khel.—Dawn
Relatives and officials with coffins carrying remains of the coalminers in Darra Adam Khel.—Dawn

KOHAT: The remains of 16 coalminers belonging to the Shangla area, who were kidnapped in 2011 by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), were recovered from a mass grave in the mountains of the Tor Chappar area of tribal sub-division of Darra Adam Khel on Friday.

Shafarish Khan Afridi, a local resident, told Dawn that 10 ambulances and a medical team arrived in the area and dug up the mass grave. The miners had been killed and buried in the mass grave by the TTP militants during their rule in the area. The miners were kidnapped on Sept 29, 2011.

Mr Afridi said the exact location of the mass grave was in the eastern mountains between Tor Chappar and Jawaki areas.

An official of the assistant commissioner office of Darra Adam Khel, Azam Khan, said that kidnapping incidents and killing of people during the Taliban rule in the area at that time was common as they had imposed their own brand of Shariah in the region. He said they used to award what they deemed Islamic punishments to people. In many cases they killed tribesmen after the recovery of drugs from their possession and also the Khasadars for being in the government job.

They had also imposed a permanent ban on visiting women schoolteachers from Peshawar and Kohat and wearing of what they deemed un-Islamic dress.

Muhammad Zahir, an official of Rescue 1122, Kohat, told Dawn that somebody had called their headquarters in Peshawar, informing them about the presence of human bodies. They were asked to go to the area and recover the bodies.

The rescue team recovered the remains of all coalminers after two hours’ digging of the mass grave.

Mr Zahir said it would be confirmed by a medical report how the miners had been killed and their identification through DNA tests would be required since the bodies were beyond recognition.

He said the medical team and ambulances were on their way to the Shangla area for shifting the remains of the coalminers till the filing of this report.

A number of coalminers and other people had been kidnapped and killed by the TTP during their rule in Darra Adam Khel. The bodies of some of them used to be recovered and identified, but tribesmen of the area at that time believed that members of security forces were carrying out these killings despite repeated denials of these allegations by security forces.

Our Correspondent from Shangla adds: Shangla Coalmine Workers Association spokesperson Sarfaraz Khan said that after the information about presence of the remains of coalminers reached Darra Khyber, SCMWA office-bearers, political leaders and rescue workers reached the area and dug up the mass grave.

He said the remains of all the 16 coalminers had been recovered and their joint funeral prayers would be offered in Shangla on Saturday.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2021

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