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Sunday, 8 September, 2002, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Pakistan 'militants' killed in shoot-out
Military policemen and special forces on duty in Multan on Sunday
The militants were said to belong to a banned group
Four suspected militants have been killed in a shoot-out with police in eastern Pakistan, officials have said.

Police said two of the men were linked to an attack on a Christian church last year, in which at least 16 people were killed.

The suspects - identified as Mohammad Waseem and Mohammad Akram - were being taken by police to recover arms and ammunition they said were hidden near the city of Multan.

While the convoy was on its way, it was ambushed by unknown assailants who managed to free the two detainees.

However, policemen from the escorting team gave chase and in the ensuing gun battle, shot dead four men, including Waseem and Akram, police said.

Church massacre

"When the firing stopped from the other side, police found four dead bodies, including the two militants," Deputy Inspector General of Police, Chaudhury Iftikhar, told the Associated Press news agency.

Armed police at an airport on Sunday
Militant attacks raised security concerns

The men were being held in connection with an attack on a church in the city Bahawalpur last October - the worst single massacre of Christians in Pakistan's history.

Police said Waseem had also been involved in an attack last month on a missionary hospital in Taxila in which four nurses and an attacker were killed.

The BBC's Susannah Price in Islamabad reports the police as saying both Waseem and Akram, and the men shot while trying to free them, were members of the outlawed Sunni organisation, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Several other members of the group were arrested earlier this year in connection with the attack on St Dominic's church, and three more suspects are on the run, the authorities said.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

23 Jul 02 | South Asia
28 Oct 01 | South Asia
28 Oct 01 | South Asia
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