PESHAWAR - Taliban militants released eight employees of Gomal Zam Dam project on Saturday, almost a year after they were kidnapped from South Waziristan tribal region.
Local sources and spokesman for the Governor’s House here confirmed all the eight workers had been released. The project workers – Sub-Divisional Officer Shahid Ali Khan, Sub Engineer Sana Ullah, four security personnel, identified as Rafaqat Zeeshan, Siraj and Munir, and two others – were kidnapped on August 15, 2012, while travelling to Tank from the dam site in South Waziristan.
A month after their kidnapping, a faction of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) released a video of the abducted employees asking the govt to meet the militants’ demands in exchange for their safe release.
The release took place in South Waziristan region on Saturday after successful negotiations between a tribal Jirga and the militants. A Taliban spokesman said the eight men were released as a “goodwill gesture” from the militants. The incident came two days after the government inaugurated the dam in South Waziristan’s militancy-ravaged Khajori Katch area.
Blast during archaeological dig kills two in Bajaur
AFP adds: A bomb explosion Saturday killed two members of a pro-government militia and wounded four others during an archaeological dig in a tribal district on the Afghanistan border, officials said.
The incident took place in the mountainous area of Darra, 30 kilometres northeast of Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district, one of the seven semi-autonomous tribal regions. “About a dozen members of the local peace committee were digging at an excavation site when a remote controlled bomb went off, killing two members and wounding four others,” senior local administration official Sardar Yousuf said.
The group was digging in the area to look for antiquities.
Another local administration official Asad Sarwar also confirmed the incident and casualties.
Pakistan has for years been fighting homegrown Taliban insurgents in its northwestern border areas with Afghanistan.
Washington considers the tribal areas a major hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.