Angry tribesmen disrupt life

January 15, 2006


KHAR (Bajaur Agency), Jan 14: Thousands of angry tribesmen ransacked offices of two NGOs and a government body, and damaged shops in Inayat Kallay of Bajaur Agency on Saturday.

They were protesting against the killing of civilians in Friday’s US air strike on a village.

Scouts and Khasadar Force used teargas and fired gunshots to disperse the mob while the law enforcing agencies detained at least 30 protesters.

Eyewitnesses said thousands of tribesmen gathered in Inayat Kallay town near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to lodge a protest over the killing of 18 people in Damadola area of the agency.

Different political parties and organisations had given a strike call against the US plane attack. Tribal MNA Sahibzada Haroon Rashid and others spoke on the occasion and called for waging Jihad against America.

Emotionally charged protesters, who assembled at a local market, chanted slogans against the US government and President Bush for attacking residential compounds.

The armed protesters were chanting slogans “God is Great” and “Down with America”.

Speaking at the rally, MNA Sahibzada Haroon Rashid said innocent people had been killed in the air attack.

He denied the presence of foreigners, including a senior Al Qaeda leader, at the time of the US aircraft attack on Damadola, saying: “No foreigner was present in the area. They (Americans) are responsible for the killing of children and women.”

Witnesses said the protest rally ended peacefully.

However, a mob attacked the offices of two NGOs and the National Commission on Human Development (NCHD) in the area.

It damaged stationery, computers and set furniture and motorcycles on fire of two foreign-funded NGOs and the NCHD.

Later, the mob attacked a market and damaged audio, video shops and net cafes. Personnel of the Frontier Corps and Khasadar force resorted to teargas shelling and fired gunshots in the air to disperse the crowd.

Sources said the authorities had arrested 30 tribesmen allegedly for damaging public and private property.