Central & South Asia
Tribesmen killed in Pakistan attack
Suicide bomber hits vehicle carrying four pro-government tribesmen in the northwest.
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2009 14:00 GMT

A suicide bomber rammed his car into the vehicle carrying a Pashtun tribal leader [AFP]

Four pro-government tribesmen have been killed by a suicide bomber in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.

The attacker rammed a car packed with explosives into a vehicle carrying Abdul Hakeem, a Pashtun tribal leader, in Bannu district on Monday.

"It was a suicide attack. The bomber sitting in a car smashed his car into the vehicle of Abdul Hakeem," Iqbal Khan, a police official, said.

Khan said Hakeem and three other tribesmen, working as his bodyguards, were killed instantly. A woman passing by was also wounded.

Hakeem was a prominent anti-Taliban tribal elder and a local Islamic cleric.

"He had issued a decree against suicide bombing and the Taliban were not happy with him," Mohammad Iqbal Marwat, the police chief of Bannu district, said.

Taliban stronghold

Bannu district borders the tribal region of North Waziristan, which along with South Waziristan is a Taliban stronghold.

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Hakeem had been instrumental in allowing Pakistani security forces to pass through the area and gain access to North Waziristan.

Pakistan's military has vowed to wipe out Taliban fighters from the northwest, and has been carrying out operations against them in the region over the last few months.

The Taliban has threatened to ramp up suicide attacks in Pakistan if the military continues with the offensive.

At least 11 people were killed in an attack in the main town of Bannu district on Saturday. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, saying they were avenging the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud who was killed in a US drone attack in August.

Four tribal elders who had been active in raising a government-sponsored militia against fighters in Bannu were shot dead by Taliban on September 24, police said.

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