Islamabad: In what appears to be a clash
between rival militant groups, 17 supporters of commander
Maulvi Nazir`s faction were gunned down by fighters owing
allegiance to Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud in the
country`s tribal belt, reports said today.
The men were killed yesterday in Ladha area of South
Waziristan tribal region which is controlled by the banned
Clashes between rival militant factions in the tribal
areas have escalated following the reported killing of Mehsud
in a US drone attack on August 5. Nazir is believed to have
disputes with Taliban commander Baitullah.
However, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Azam Tariq
told reporters his group had nothing to do with the incident.
Some local residents said the attack could have been the work
of Uzbek militants.
Maulvi Nazir had expelled Uzbek militants from the area
dominated by his Ahmadzai Wazir tribe in 2007 after fierce
clashes and Mehsud had provided them shelter.
Nazir`s supporters were going from North Waziristan to
Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, when they were
attacked. Armed men who were hiding in bushes by the roadside
began firing at them.
Among those killed was Miruddin, a close associate of
Nazir. Some reports said Nazir`s men were returning from
Paktika province in Afghanistan, where they had gone to fight
US-led coalition forces.