PESHAWAR, Dec 27: At least 20 personnel of Levies force were kidnapped by suspected militants on Thursday after an attack on check-posts in Frontier Region Peshawar during which two members of the militia were killed and another suffered injuries.
According to sources, the attackers – their number said to be around 30 –armed with sophisticated weapons had come to Koi Hassankhel and Jani Kor in two vehicles in the early hours of the day.
However, officials claimed that law-enforcement agencies had arrested 21 outlaws, seized five vehicles and demolished a market allegedly owned by the facilitators of militants.
The sources said the Levies personnel fired shots in the air when militants arrived but the attackers were able to overrun the posts and left before sunrise. They said the attackers also took away official weapons.
Local people avoided helping the security personnel, the sources said.
According to official sources, authorities had been warned 10 days ago about the possibility of an attack on the posts and sufficient weapons had been provided to the Levies personnel but they failed to take timely action.
An official said it was not clear if the missing personnel had been kidnapped or fled.
Assistant Political Agent Naveed Khan told Dawn he had spent the day in the area, adding that security personnel were ready to counter any new raid.
He said it was a remote area where movement was very difficult and the administration had deployed security personnel at strategic spots.
The official said a meeting of tribal elders would be held on Friday to prepare a coordinated plan for recovering the kidnapped personnel.
“This is the way to control the law and order situation because the elders of the semi-tribal region also have some responsibilities,” the APA said. Local people had assured administration of their cooperation, he added.
He said it was yet to be ascertained if the attackers had taken away the official weapons because the debris of the destroyed posts had not been removed.
Peshawar rural circle police officials said they had tips about the attack but the semi-tribal region was out of their jurisdiction.
Another official said police had increased checking of suspicious vehicles and people since the assassination of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour and an earlier attack on the Peshawar air base.
Sailab Mehsud in Ladha adds: A Taliban spokesman for Dara Adamkhel, Mohammad Afridi, told Dawn by phone that his group had carried out the attack and claimed eight personnel had been killed and 23 kidnapped.