LANDI KOTAL, Jan 31: Eight volunteers of a peace committee were killed in Tirah valley when a mortar shell went off accidentally and a militant commander died in fighting over the strategic Takhtaki area in Khyber tribal region on Thursday.

Sources said that a mortar shell exploded in a bunker used by volunteers of the Kamarkhel peace committee at Takhtaki when ammunitions were being shifted to another base. The blast killed eight volunteers of the peace committee, they said.

Kamarkhel is a neutral tribe and doesn’t want to indulge in fighting but recently it has taken up arms to keep Takhtaki from the influence of any militant group.

Lashkar-i-Islam has been carrying out sporadic attacks on the Kamarkhel tribesmen to take control of the important location to which the Kamarkhel volunteers are offering resistance.

Another militant group, Ansarul Islam, wants to push back fighters of LI from Takhtaki area because it is close to Bagh Maidan, the headquarters of Ansarul Islam.

The sources said that Ansarul Islam had taken over a bunker in Takhtaki which the LI men had earlier captured from Kamarkhel volunteers. However, later in the day the Ansar militants were forced to retreat from the area after a two-pronged attack by LI and Kamarkhel volunteers.

It was not clear till late on Thursday who had taken control of the bunker finally – the LI men or Kamarkhel volunteers.

Meanwhile, in a clash with Kamarkhel volunteers in the area LI commander Mehar Gul was killed and four of his associates were injured as fierce fighting continued there.

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