Pro-govt militia targeted in Darra, 16 killed


A powerful suicide car bombing ripped through a market in Darra Adam Khel, killing at least 16 persons and injuring over 40 others on Saturday morning.
The powerful blast also destroyed over 20 shops, eight vehicles and several houses in the surrounding areas. According to an official, the car bomber targeted the office of local peace lashkar (pro-government militia) situated in a commercial market.
The official said the bomber detonated the explosives-laden vehicle in Firdos Market, a private gun manufacturing market in Darra Adam Khel around 35 kilometres southwest of Peshawar. Darra Adam Khel lies in Kohat region, and connects Peshawar with the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the adjoining tribal areas. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain also said that the target of the attack was the local peace committee. Soon after the blast, local tribesmen and personnel of traditional Khasadar Force started rescue activities, and shifted the dead bodies and the injured victims to various hospitals. The official further said that most of the injured had been shifted to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) in Peshawar and Liaquat Memorial Hospital in Kohat.
Dr Rahim Jan Afridi, medical superintendent at the LRH, confirmed that they had received seven dead bodies and 23 injured blast victims so far. Doctors at LRH said the condition of several injured victims, including children, was critical. Dr Alif Khan at Darra Adam Khel Civil Hospital said they had received eight dead bodies. So far the official confirmed at least 16 deaths in the terror attack, while placing the number of injured persons at 40. But the tribesmen in Darra Adam Khel believe that the number of killed persons is much higher. According to local tribesmen, a curfew-like situation exists in the area and no one is allowed to enter. Soon after the explosion, heavy contingents of security forces rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. The troops have also launched a search operation.
According to local tribesmen, the peace lashkar was headed by a breakaway faction of former militants led by Momin, a rival of local Taliban commander Tariq Afridi. Momin’s father and other close relatives were included among the killed and injured. However, Momin was unhurt and stayed safe in the attack. A spokesman of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Darra Adam Khel chapter denied his group’s involvement in the suicide attack. However, local officials allege that the attack was carried out by militants from Tariq Afridi’s group.
Meanwhile, six persons were killed and four others injured as a result of clashes between armed groups in the Mamozai area of Upper Orakzai. Armed militant groups based in Hangu and Orakzai are already divided in two groups, and have been involved in deadly attacks against each other.