Pak army captain among 11 killed in clashes with militants

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Islamabad, Jul 30 (UNI) The two-month-old peace deal signed by Pakistani government and militants to restore peace in the scenic northwestern Swat valley is threatened by fresh clashes between militants and army troops.

Eleven people, including a Pakistan Army captain, a non-commissioned officer and nine militants, were killed during day-long clashes between the security forces and the Maulana Fazlullah-led militants in the Swat Valley yesterday.

The militants also abducted 30 security personnel after taking over a security post near Kabbal town, 35 km northwest of Minora, capital of Swat.

At least 500 militants laid siege to the police post and ordered the security personnel to surrender. They were then driven away in a truck to an unknown location.

The incident came a day after militants intercepted and shot dead three intelligence officials on Monday night near Mingora.

A military spokesman, however, confirmed kidnapping of 25 personnel of the Police and the Frontier Constabulary. He said all the personnel manning the post were taken hostage and shifted to some unknown location.

The militants briefly occupied the police post before being driven out by the security forces that clamped a curfew after establishing their control over the town.

Militants' spokesman Muslim Khan said they would only be released after a complete withdrawal of the forces from the Swat Valley.

Security forces launched a renewed search operation in pursuit of the militants in different parts of the valley.

The spokesman said that six miscreants were apprehended and two killed in the operation. A large quantity of automatic weapons and ammunition was also recovered.

He added that the arrested militants were believed to be close associates of Fazlullah, also known as Mulla Radio for running his own FM station and inciting people agains the armed forces.

Security forces confronted the Taliban militants in Akhun Killay area, which left two dead, including a captain and a non-commissioned officer, while 10 others suffered serious injuries.

The slain captain was identified as Waqas, son of a retired colonel of the Pakistan Army.

There were also reports of nine militants being killed and several others injured in the skirmish. None of the conflicting parties however, confirmed the fatalities.

The security forces continued shelling suspected hideouts of the militants in Kabal and Matta subdivisions. A mortar shell hit a house in Akhun Killay of Kabal, killing a two-year-old girl and injuring eight people, including six women of the same family.

Another mortar shell fell on a house that injured two people.

The bodies of two people, allegedly shot dead, were recovered from the Akhun Killay but their identities could not be confirmed.

Several houses and a mosque were also partially damaged in Ronial, Chapparial and Sar Banda areas of Swat as security forces continued blitzing the hideouts of suspected militants in these areas. One person was killed and five others were injured in the shelling. However, the report could not be confirmed from independent sources.

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