Malik Mumtaz Khan
WANA/MIRAMSHAH: Eight suspected tribal militants were killed and two others injured in three separate drone attacks in South and North Waziristan on Wednesday.
Tribal sources in South Waziristan’s headquarters, Wana, said the drones first fired two missiles at the house of a tribesman, Zar Wali Khan Wazir, and killed three persons. Two men were injured in the attack and were shifted to a nearby hospital. A double cabin pick-up vehicle parked in the house was also destroyed in the attack.
There was no information about the identity of the slain men but local tribesmen said they were tribal militants affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban commander, Maulvi Nazeer. Some reports, however, suggested that a senior militant commander of the Maulvi Nazeer group was also killed in the attack.
Maulvi Nazeer is not part of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Hakimullah Mahsud and is considered pro-government after he signed a peace accord with the government in 2007, promising not to fight against the state of Pakistan.
In the second attack, tribal sources said the drones fired two missiles on a moving car in Karez village, 10 kilometres west of Wana. The first missile missed the target and those traveling in the speeding car stopped it near an apple orchard and managed to escape.
Eyewitnesses said within minutes, the drone fired the second missile and hit the car, turning it into pieces. Taliban sources said four militants reportedly belonging to the Punjab, were in the car but remained safe as they had taken shelter in the apple orchard before the drone struck the vehicle.
There were also reports of a third drone attack in South Waziristan but it could not be confirmed from any independent source.
Some reports said the drone fired two missiles at a house in the remote Baghar area. The house was stated to be unoccupied. Also, in the adjoining North Waziristan tribal region, drones fired six missiles on a speedy car, killing four people.
The car was being driven from Miramshah towards Mir Ali, the second major town of North Waziristan, when the drone started firing missiles at it. Tribal sources said five missiles missed the target as the driver of the car accelerated. The car was finally hit on the main Mir Ali-Miramshah Road. Villagers said the car was reduced to pieces.
Three people in the car were killed on the spot and their bodies were mutilated beyond recognition. The villagers said five US unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) were seen flying in the area during the attack.
Villagers and rescue workers could not retrieve the bodies of the slain men for an hour as the drones kept flying overhead. Some news agencies, quoting intelligence officials, reported that 15 militants were killed in Wednesdayís drone strikes.