Militants capture ‘spy’ cleric

November 12, 2007

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SWAT, Nov 11: Armed supporters of Maulana Fazlullah captured a ‘radical’ cleric, took control of his FM radio station and seized 36 AK-47 rifles from his compound in the Bara Bandi area of Swat on Sunday morning.

Fazlullah’s spokesman Maulana Sirajuddin accused Maulana Mohammad Ali alias Maulana Nider of spying on the local Taliban. He said Maulana Ali had been interrogated at a secret location.

According to local people, Maulana Ali belonged to Karachi and had come to Swat a few years ago. He operated an FM radio station and was reported to have developed differences with Maulana Fazlullah.

Sources said Maulana Ali’s followers had attacked police stations in Khwazakhela and Matta areas and taken away arms and ammunition.

Fazlullah’s supporters also seized heavy weapons, including rocket launchers and machine-guns, which they had found in a safety tank of a government-run hospital in Matta. Militants said paramilitary forces had dumped the weapons in the tank before surrendering to them.

Sources said security forces had established a base in the hospital which was captured by militants two weeks ago. They said the arms cache was found by sanitary workers who informed militants about it.

The militants have installed weapons at vantage points in the area.

Earlier, the militants kidnapped District Naib Nazim Malik Mohammad Sadiq from the Tiligram area and took him to Charbagh.

Militant commander Maulana Shah Duran ordered his release on the condition that the district administration would enforce Sharia.Mr Sadiq is reported to have assured the militants that local government officials would not operate in areas controlled by them.

Meanwhile, Frontier Corps personnel seized a huge quantity of explosives at the Chakdarra checkpost near Batkhela on Sunday and arrested a number of people believed to be militants.