Militants free 60 militiamen in Swat

November 10, 2007


SWAT, Nov 9: About 60 paramilitary soldiers taken hostage by militants on Thursday were released, while two security personnel were killed and 14 others injured in a blast in Swat on Friday.

The militiamen captured in Daroshkhela area were also given Rs1,000 each by the militants so that they could reach their areas.

Officials claimed that the number of soldiers captured was about 45.

Local people in Daroshkhela town on Matta-Kalam road told Dawn that a large number of militants had besieged a Frontier Constabulary fort on Thursday night and asked the militiamen to surrender.

The security personnel surrendered in the morning after getting assurance from the militants that they would not be harmed, sources said.

Witnesses said the captured soldiers were taken out of the fort with their hands tied.

Some of the captured soldiers complained that they had been running short of ration and the government had not been sending reinforcements.

“For the past couple of days we had been confined to the fort. We had no other option but to surrender,” said one of them.

“We had given our word to the militiamen that they would remain unharmed in our custody and be released. We have kept our promise,” said Mohammad Alam, a militant commander.

Witnesses said security personnel in two vehicles were patrolling in Kabal area when a roadside bomb exploded at Hazara village, killing two of them and injuring 14 others. The injured were taken to the Saidu Sharif Hospital.

Mr Alam told journalists that the militants would not leave Madyan town which they had taken over.

The militants had earlier left Bahrain and Kalam towns on the request of local elders.

The militant commander said the elders in the two areas were united and they could look after the law and order situation themselves.

“We believe that the people of Madyan are not in a position to control law and order, therefore, we will stay in the town,” he said.

Local people said the militants had set up their office in the police centre in Madyan and hoisted their white and black flags in the area.

Meanwhile, Senator Rahat Hussain, chief of the Malakand National Peace Jirga, alleged that the government was not sincere in bringing peace to the Swat valley.