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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