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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Pakistan army kills tribal leader
Nek Mohammed
Mohammed led a tribe accused of harbouring al-Qaeda fighters
The Pakistan military says it has killed a renegade tribal leader in an assault near the Afghan border.

Nek Mohammed was accused of sheltering al-Qaeda militants and leading several deadly attacks against Pakistani forces in South Waziristan.

More than 5,000 people attended his burial in his home village on Friday.

The chief spokesman for the Pakistan military, Major General Shaukat Sultan, said the death of Mohammed represented a major success.


The Pakistani forces had targeted suspected militant hideouts in South Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan.

We were tracking him down and he was killed [Thursday] night by our hand
Major General Shaukat Sultan

But the BBC correspondent in Islamabad, Paul Anderson, says there is some confusion as to how Mohammed was killed.

Some reports say an army mortar was fired at a hideout near South Waziristan's main town of Wana.

Others say the missile came from an unmanned drone flying overhead.

Funeral procession near Wana
Mohammed's funeral procession near Wana - over 5,000 attended

Mohammed had been accused by the authorities of sheltering foreign Islamic fighters in the remote tribal region and of spearheading resistance to the army's campaign to flush them out.

Four associates of Mohammed also died in the attack.

More than 5,000 people attended Mohammed's funeral in his home village, 10km from Wana.

Villagers told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the ceremony was silent, devoid of customary speeches and attended by stunned tribesmen.

Digging in

Mohammed - described as a turbaned, black-bearded warrior in his late 20s - wore his association with the hardline former Taleban regime with pride.

In March, he was involved in clashes with Pakistani security forces in which more than 100 militants and security forces died.

He led one of a number of rebellious sub-tribes accused of sheltering foreign militants.

The army has been trying to persuade the tribesmen to hand them over.

Instead, the rebel tribesmen have been digging in, staging lightning strikes against the military.

They accuse the security forces of fighting against them on behalf of US troops who are continuing to mount anti-Taleban operations across the rugged border in Afghanistan.

Pakistani forces made their latest strike after a breakdown in negotiations.

Witnesses reported hearing transport helicopters fire rockets at suspected militant hideouts on Thursday.

Observers say the latest manoeuvres are significant because they have included the mountainous area around Angor Adda town - regarded as one of the last strongholds of foreign militants.

The army had ended its main five-day offensive against al-Qaeda fighters and tribesmen on Sunday after attacks using artillery, helicopter gun ships and jet fighters.

Military officials say that left at least 72 people dead, including 17 Pakistani soldiers.

The BBC's Paul Andersson
"The Pakistani authorities are pleased but not triumphalist about the killing of Nek Mohammad"

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