70 militants killed in Swat

04 Feb 2009

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PESHAWAR, Feb 3: Over 70 militants were killed by security forces during fierce clashes in Swat on Monday night and Tuesday.

A group of Taliban were attacked and dispersed by troops in Alam Ganj Waliabad area of Charbagh on Monday night. On Tuesday evening, the militants gathered again and were reported to be planning an attack when security forces surprised them. At least 64 militants were killed and several others were injured.

Official sources claimed that the Taliban had suffered a major setback in the area.

Meanwhile, militants surrounded the Shamozai police post manned by about 30 personnel on Tuesday morning. Six militants were killed and five others were injured in an exchange of fire.

Three security personnel were killed and five others injured.

According to sources, security personnel are running out of ammunition and have sought reinforcement. It is feared that the troops may be forced to surrender if help did not reach them in time.

Suspected militants attacked a military convoy on the Mingora bypass.

Troops cordoned off the area and launched an operation, killing four militants.

The Takhtaband village on the bypass was deserted with residents having left their homes and moved to other areas fearing retaliatory attack by the army.

Thousands of people of Aligrama, Koza and Bara Bandai, Kanju and Akhund Kalley have also left their homes and are reported to be going to Mardan, Nowshera, Peshawar and other places.

An exodus of about 45,000 people has been reported from Charbagh and adjoining areas.

According to official sources, about 300,000 people have left the valley so far and many of them have taken refuge in camps set up by the authorities in different areas.

According to witnesses, a large number of people are stranded in different areas of Swat because of curfew.

Some of them have made announcements on loudspeakers that their children were missing.

“The unfortunate people of Swat have seen their near and dear ones slaughtered, hanged in main squares of Mingora and Matta, executed and tortured for no sin committed by them,” a displaced man said.

“Both the Taliban and security forces are killing innocent people. We are migrating because there are no signs of peace in the near future,” he said.