Corpses turning up in Swat raising concerns of residents

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 18:22

Islamabad: Weeks after Pakistan army
recaptured the scenic Swat valley`s main town of Mingora after
street battles with Taliban, at least 21 corpses have been
found strewn on the main thoroughfares sparking concerns of
extra-judicial killings.

Three bloodied corpses were found by police on Tuesday at
Vangram, a city suburbs and this is not for the first time,
returning residents have come across bodies on their return
home from refugee camps.

Just days back on August 16, corpses of 18 people were
found in several towns and cities in the valley leading to
suspicions among the people that it could be the handiwork of
the security forces.

Local residents say that security forces were responsible
for the killings as part of their campaign against the
Taliban.

But the army and the police deny the accusations, who
seek to put the blame on locals saying that these could be
`revenge killings`. However, Pakistani Human Rights Commission
says that the reports that security forces are responsible are
credible and have demanded an official investigation into the
killings.

The rights group wants to know who the people killed
are--militants or local residents.

Swat, once an idyllic resort for skiers is waking up to
such killings for the past year or so. Earlier, it was the
Taliban militants who would carry out gruesome killings and
then hang mutilated corpses on poles and trees in public
places.

The killings, residents were quoted by local TV channels
as saying are a grim reminder of Taliban rule over the valley
when militants dumped bodies at different places saying they
were government agents or spies.

The militants carried out the gory acts to warn off
residents not to defy their diktats. The killings were not the
only signals as Taliban also torched schools and other
institutions to tell the people to fall in line.

Most of the bodies found so far had bullet marks, while
some were mutilated. Reports said that nearly 200 such corpses
of militants have been found across Swat since July, but this
could not be independently confirmed.

In the nearly five month long battle the military says
over 1800 militants have been killed in the offensive. About
300 security personnel have also died in the fighting.

Taliban have indulged in gruesome acts by beheading
soldiers and policemen whom they captured and now the
residents suspect, the present killings could be tit for tat.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 18:22

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