UPPER DIR, Nov 8: Four police officials, including an ASI of the Kalam police station, crossed over into the Upper Dir district from Swat district to save themselves from the militants loyal to Maulana Fazlullah.

Police sources said they had been taken hostage by the local Taliban after Madyan and Kalam were captured, but were freed on the intervention of the local Maliks. Policemen vacated the police stations in Madyan and Kalam on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, following the incursion by the local Taliban, already controlling more than 59 villages in Swat district.

It was a simple walkover for Fazlullah’s men as they were not challenged in the two towns by the government functionaries.

The Kalam valley shares a border with the Upper Dir district. A road also links the two.

This became a major concern for the elders of Upper Dir, who feared the arrival of militants in their territory.

The sources said the local Maliks sheltered the beleaguered police personnel who had been banished from the Swat district. The Maliks, they said, did not allow the militants to harm the four officials.

The policemen were identified as Assistant Sub-Inspector Nek Amal Khan and Head Constable Aurangzeb of the Kalam police station and Head Constable Falak Naz and Sepoy Fazl Subhan of the Madyan police station.

The sources said the police officials trekked for five hours to cover the mountains separating Kumrat and Kalam. They sought help from the Upper Dir police officials who were on a routine patrol in Kalkot.

They were shifted to the district headquarters, Dir.

It may be recalled that four personnel of the Swat police, after breaking the siege of militants in Shah Dherai, had entered Karo Dara of Upper Dir district to save themselves from the ravaging Taliban a week ago.

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