Eight killed in Wana firing

Published September 9, 2004

WANA, Sept 8: Eight people were killed and 13 wounded when troops opened fire after a landmine hit military vehicles in the Wana bazaar on Wednesday. Local people said all those killed and wounded were civilians who had been mistaken for miscreants, but officials claimed that casualties occurred when security forces responded to firing from some houses in Wana.

Witnesses said the explosive device went off when an army convoy was passing through the main Wana bazaar which has remained closed since economic sanctions were imposed on the Ahmedzai-Wazir tribe.

"It was probably a remote-control device, planted on the roadside," an official said, and added that after the explosion miscreants opened fire on the military convoy.

The witnesses said security forces fired indiscriminately following the explosion in which three soldiers had been wounded and an army jeep damaged. They said 18 passers by sustained injuries during the firing by security forces which lasted for about half an hour. Troops also used rocket-propelled grenades, they claimed.

"Soon after the explosion, troops encircled the area and started firing, using heavy machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades," said a resident. Six people died on the spot and two others at the local hospital, doctors said.

Four of the eight killed were identified as Mohammad Omar, Hayat Khan, Abi Zar and Gul Shah Khan. The injured are: Essa Khan, Abdullah Jan, Nawaz Khan, Noor Mohammad, Ilyas Khan, Missal Khan (Afghan national), Sahib Shah (Afghan national), Bismillah Khan Wazir, Qudratullah Khattak, Abdur Rashid Kundi and Dr Sameer Gul.

The area was under siege at the time of the filing of this report. Tension was high in the Wana bazaar area which has been relatively peaceful for the past few days.

Army and paramilitary forces are patrolling the bazaar and have secured sensitive points to avert any flare-up. According to unofficial reports, army and paramilitary forces have arrested a large number of people and shifted them to the Wana Scouts camp.

ISPR CHIEF: DG ISPR Maj-Gen Shaukat Sultan said soldiers came under fire from militants after their vehicle had been struck by a roadside bomb, adds Reuters. "Miscreants started firing on the convoy as a result of which six civilians were martyred and 11 were wounded," he said.

"The security forces responded and surrounded the area and arrested 28 people," he said. Several soldiers were also wounded in the encounter, he said.

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