MINGORA, Dec 14: Pir Samiullah, a declared opponent of the Taliban, and his eight followers were killed in a gunbattle in Swat on Saturday night, it was reported on Sunday. Twenty-two other followers of the Pir were captured by the Taliban.
Pir Samiullah of Mandal Dag was the first notable of the region to take on the Taliban and to form a tribal Lashkar to expel the militants from the valley.
Sources said Pir Samiullah was laid to rest in his native Charma town, a mountainous area of Matta tehsil, on Sunday.
The gunbattle started on Saturday morning when the militants entered Mandal Dag and torched the house and hujra of the Pir. The militants also torched residence and a hujra of the Pir after taking control of Mandal Dag area on Saturday morning. They also set on fire houses of 15 elders.
At least eight supporters of the Pir were killed and several others injured in the clash. A Taliban spokesman claimed that no militant had been killed in the clash.
Muslim Khan said his men launched a search operation in Mandal Dag and adjoining areas and seized 50 Kalashnikovs, two rockets and 15 rifles of various bores.
The Taliban, according to sources, are now in control of about 80 per cent of Swat and the government’s writ is confined to areas around Mingora.
Clashes between Taliban and Pir Samiullah started about two months ago when the militants tried to kidnap the Pir.