WANA, Jan 7: Rival militants attacked offices of a pro-government militant, killing nine and wounding eight of his men on Sunday night.The attackers first stormed the office of Maulvi Nazir in Wana and killed three of his supporters and wounded four others, sources said.
The militants, equipped with rockets and heavy weapons, launched another attack on the office of Maulvi Nazir’s close aide, Maulvi Khanan, in Shakai town, killing six people and wounding five others.
A spokesman for Maulvi Nazir blamed Baitullah Mehsud’s supporters for the attack and asked all Mahsud tribesmen to leave the Wazir tribe-dominated areas to avoid bloodshed.
“We suspect Baitullah and his Uzbek supporters for this gruesome attack which left nine Mujahideen dead,” Lala Wazir said.
A large number of attackers, he said, came from the Mehsud area at night and attacked the local peace committee offices in Wana and Shakai areas. He said the culprits would be punished after completion of investigations.
Local people said that Maulvi Nazir’s supporters shot dead an associate of Baitullah and captured four others in Wana, the administrative headquarters of the South Waziristan. Tension gripped the entire area and all shops and markets remained closed in Wana.
Maulavi Nazir belongs to the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe and has great influence in the region and virtually controls Wana. His supporters, backed by security forces, had launched a drive against Uzbek militants in the area in April last. The week-long armed clashes between Maulvi Nazir’s supporters and Uzbeks had left over 160 people dead.
Sources said that the incident could trigger a tribal feud after Maulvi Nazir asked tribesmen hailing from the Mahsud tribe to leave the Ahmadzai Wazir dominated areas by 8am on Tuesday.
“All Mehsud tribesmen, including shopkeepers, farmers and government employees, should leave the Wazir tribe area by 8am on Tuesday; otherwise they will be responsible for consequences,” said Lala Wazir.
He said Wazir’s tribesmen would avenge the death of their fellows.
The spokesman said that the perpetrators of the attack, who were being sheltered by Baitullah’s men, had earlier attacked their people and offices five times but they did nothing to maintain peace in the area but this time they would not forgive anybody.
Sources said that security forces also targeted three locations in the Mehsud area on Monday afternoon. Law-enforcement agencies fired artillery from the Shakai fort and pounded locations in Laddah sub-division. Local people had vacated their houses in the area.
The sources said that militants had stopped supply of food ration to the forces in Laddah fort and also disconnected water supply.
“Miscreants fired at peace committee offices in Wana bazaar and Shikai,” the military said in a statement, referring to the region’s two main towns.
“Eight members of the committee expired,” it said.
Maulvi Nazir was involved in bloody clashes with Uzbek militants. They had sneaked into the rugged tribal terrain after the ouster of the Taliban regime in a US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.