KHAR, Aug 13: Militants in Bajaur Agency are using local people as human shield with air force planes continuing to bomb different areas. Twenty-four people, including some militants, were killed on Wednesday.
Local people said militants had stopped families in Mamond tehsil from leaving the area.
“Militants forced the fleeing tribesmen to stay back. The men were given Kalashnikovs and asked to keep their women in homes,” said a man in Mamond. He said the militants had asked the people to take part in what they called jihad against ‘infidels’.
People in Salarzai have also been stopped from leaving their homes and the area.
Witnesses said planes and helicopters attacked several areas in Khar and Mamond tehsils. Several houses in Damadola, Kaga, Neiag Banda, Lowi Sam and Khaza were hit.
According to sources, planes bombed Kairwana where local people had gathered for a funeral.
Heavy bombing killed at least 16 people, some suspected militants among them.
Planes and helicopters started bombing different parts of Bajaur on Friday after militants besieged over 150 security personnel in Lowi Sam and laid a siege to Khar, the local administrative headquarters.
More than 100 people, including militants, and 24 soldiers have been killed and dozens of houses demolished.
According to official sources, F-16 aircraft have been used in the conflict for the first time.
Security forces urged farmers to cut the maize crop in areas (around 200 metres) along the highway between Inayetkali and Khar so that it was not used for ambush.
The sources said the militants had sent a jirga to ask paramilitary forces in Saddiqabad to vacate a checkpoint, but the jirga was rebuffed by the authorities.
Meanwhile, displaced people have complained that they were stopped at Lowari Top from entering Chitral. They informed the authorities in Lower Dir that the administration and some people did not allow them to enter Chitral. People have been leaving Bajaur and going to Dir, Peshawar and other areas in the Frontier province.