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Friday, May 29, 2009

Taliban Loot Relief Trucks

ISLAMABAD, May 28: Security forces on Thursday foiled an attempt by terrorists to loot a convoy of army trucks carrying relief and food items for people stranded in areas affected by the military operation.

“Special security arrangements have been made to obviate the incidence of snatching of relief items for the besieged people in the disturbed areas on the basis of the lessons learnt in recent days,” military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told Dawn on Thursday. He said terrorists ambushed a convoy of eight army trucks at Handa Kai near Barikot. The trucks were carrying relief goods and food items for Chakdarra, Barikot and Mingora.

The ISPR chief said the attempt was foiled by security personnel and the relief goods were finally distributed among stranded people of Mingora. He said that four security personnel laid down their lives to frustrate the attempt made by miscreants.

He said that security forces were consolidating their position in Mingora, Qambar and Kanju-Kabbal areas. Cordon and search operations were carried out in Nawagai, Nawan Killi, Gulabad and Landaikas.

A known terrorist, Ghani-ur-Rehman, was arrested by security forces during the operation. He was involved in the killing of several police officials. The military spokesman said that seven terrorists were killed, while four were arrested in various areas of Swat during the last 24 hours. He said that security forces carried out cordon and search operation in Peochar village.

The troops attacked a group of 15-20 terrorists at Mano Derai, killed three of them and arrested four. A soldier was injured in the encounter.

He said that security forces entered Bahrain on Thursday morning and they were welcomed by locals with national flags in their hands. At Sattal, four kilometres from Bahrain, an explosives-laden vehicle was destroyed and two terrorists were killed.

He said two Taliban were killed at Maalam Jabba during an exchange of fire with security forces.

He said ration for 80,000 stranded people was distributed on Wednesday. The recipients included 40,000 people in Mingora and 10,000 each in Kabbal, Kanju, Barikot and Chakdarra.

Fifty tons of ration from the army was despatched to Khawazakhela.

The army has so far distributed 577 tons of rations among the stranded people of Swat.

Meanwhile, local people and security agencies said that militants had abandoned areas captured by them near Kalam.

US-based Human Rights Watch warned this week that thousands of trapped civilians faced a “humanitarian catastrophe” unless help reached them soon. Around 2.4 million people have fled fighting as soldiers struggle to wrest back the western Swat and two nearby districts from the Taliban, who last month advanced to within 100km of Islamabad.

Source: Pakistan Dawn

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