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Two Uzbek fighters killed in Waziristan

January 14, 2008

WANA, Jan 13: Two Uzbek militants were killed and one was captured during clashes between rival groups in the volatile South Waziristan Agency on Sunday, officials and residents said.

Also on Sunday, anti-Uzbek militant commander Maulvi Nazir survived a roadside bomb attack.

The clash took place in the Shakai valley when six Uzbek militants came across supporters of Malik Khanan, a close associate of Maulvi Nazir.

Officials said the Malik’s men exchanged fire with the Uzbeks and killed two of them and captured one in wounded condition. The other three foreign militants managed to escape.

Malik Khanan is the head of a peace committee in Shakai and a staunch opponent of Uzbek militants in the troubled region. He is spearheading the armed campaign against foreigners in the valley. Last week, Uzbek fighters allegedly had attacked his office.

Maulvi Nazir survived a roadside bomb attack when he was on way to Wana from Shakai. He remained unhurt, while his guard suffered minor injuries.

Earlier, unidentified persons attacked Maulvi Nazir’s house in Shakai on Saturday night. Local people said that several rockets had been fired, but no casualty was reported.

Alamgir Bhittani adds from Tank: Unidentified persons kidnapped six employees of the Gomal Zam Dam project on Sunday, sources said.

An official said six employees of the Chinese company were kidnapped at Toor Mangi area by unknown persons when they were coming back from their site to Dera Ismail Khan.

Toor Mangi separates South Waziristan from Dera Ismail Khan.

Police in Gomal expressed ignorance about the kidnapping incident.

Officials suspect that tribal militants were behind the kidnapping.

Construction at the Gomal Zam project was suspended after the incident.

Meanwhile, troops bombed the Manzai area in the Mehsud area of the South Waziristan on Saturday night, damaging several houses and shops, sources said.A child suffered injuries when a shell hit a house. The houses of two tribesmen and a mosque had also been partially damaged in the artillery fire.

Police said that law-enforcement agencies had arrested a candidate of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Maulana Niaz Muhammad Bhittani in Tank’s Umar Adda area on Saturday. The maulana was the JUI-F candidate for PF-79 in the upcoming elections. Security forces had arrested 44 suspects from Umar Adda.

On Sunday evening, security forces conducted a search operation in Gara Pather near Tank city and cordoned off several houses in the locality. According to reports, troops detonated Malik Jehangir Shabikhel’s house and arrested him, his brother Akram Khan and son Azhar Khan.