42 militants killed, 105 surrender in Swat valley
While the militants were killed in separate military operations in Malakand division and Khyber region, the bodies were found in Swat valley in what was described by the authorities as revenge attacks by local residents who suffered atrocities while Taliban was in control of the area.world Updated: Sep 02, 2009 10:07 IST
At least 42 militants were killed by security forces and over 100 surrendered to the army on Wednesday in Pakistan's restive northwestern tribal region, where 41 bodies, mostly of Taliban fighters, were also found.
While the militants were killed in separate military operations in Malakand division and Khyber region, the bodies were found in Swat valley in what was described by the authorities as revenge attacks by local residents who suffered atrocities while Taliban was in control of the area.
Pakistan army killed 40 militants, including two top commanders, in the restive Khyber tribal region bordering Afghanistan and destroyed four of their bases in a major operation against the banned Lashkar-e-Islam group.
Troops also killed two Taliban and captured 19 others during search operations across the lawless Malakand division.
A total of 105 militants surrendered to the army in Kabal sub-division of Swat, officials said.
Brig Salman Akbar, who is heading the drive against the Taliban in the area, said the fate of surrendered militants will be decided by the Islamic courts set up recently in Swat.
"They (militants) will be presented in the Qazi courts which were set up on their demand, and these courts will decide what should be done with them. We can't say what their punishment will be -- the courts will decide this," he said.
However, the militants will not be released under any agreement, Akbar told a news conference in Kanju town.
The rebels surrendered along with a large number of weapons, including rifles, AK-47s and machine guns. Several hardcore militants wanted by law enforcement agencies were among those who surrendered, he said.
Fifteen militants were captured and a cache of arms and ammunition seized during an operation at Kokray and Janbeel in Swat. A close associate of local Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah surrendered to troops near Sakhra.
Brig Akbar said the army's campaign against the Taliban would not be affected by recent suicide attacks carried out by the militants. Local residents too have formed 'lashkars' or militias to help the army in its campaign, Akbar said.
Meanwhile, at least 41 bodies, mostly those of Taliban militants apparently slain by residents in revenge killings, have been found in Swat valley over the past 24 hours, AFP quoted officials as saying.
The bodies, six of them beheaded, had been dumped by the roadside, riverside and in fields. "According to my information they were militants and were killed by residents," Atif-ur-Rehman, the top administrative official of Swat district, told the news agency.