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Last Updated: Monday, 7 January 2008, 08:06 GMT
Pakistan tribal elders shot dead
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Gunmen in Pakistan have shot dead eight pro-government tribal leaders in the troubled South Waziristan region on Afghanistan's border, officials say.

The tribesmen were killed in two separate attacks on Sunday night and early Monday, a security official said.

Three of the men died in Wana, the region's main town, while the others were shot dead at their homes in Shkai, a town north of Wana, he said.

South Waziristan is a known stronghold of Taleban and al-Qaeda militants.

The region has been at the centre of fighting between the army and the militants in recent months.

Gunmen stormed the office of Taleban commander Maulavi Nazir in Wana on Sunday night and killed three of his supporters and wounded four others, officials said.

They said five people were killed in the nearby Shkai area in another attack on the office of Commander Khanan, who is loyal to Mullah Nazir.

Officials say they suspect the attackers to be Uzbek militants, who are opposed to Mullah Nazir.

Although a Taleban commander, Mullah Nazir recently fought foreign militants with the backing of Pakistani government troops.

Reports from Wana say the attacks may be in retaliation for an incident last month in which a suspected Uzbek militant was trapped and killed by Commander Khanan's men in the neighbouring North West Frontier Province district.



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