Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Thursday, 3 September 2009 10:30 UK

Swat militia 'kills insurgents'

Anti Taleban villagers
Some analysts say militias could make the situation worse

Members of a local tribal militia in Pakistan's Swat valley have killed three suspected militants, police say.

The confrontation took place in the Galoch area of Kabal, near the region's main town Mingora, witnesses said. One volunteer was wounded in the clash.

Reports say fighting began when suspected militants attacked the tribal militia who then retaliated.

The army command in Kabal has been encouraging local people to raise their own militias against insurgents.

Militia rewards

Correspondents in Mingora say villagers have raised at least three militias in Kabal and Charbagh areas, and there are reports that residents of other villages may also raise their own forces to counter militants.

Tribal forces, or lashkars as they are called, have in the past been raised to fight against militants in the Bajaur and Dir areas of north-west Pakistan, but these militias are the first in Swat.

However there remains a strong possibility that the presence of tribal militias could make a difficult situation even worse, correspondents say.

In early August, Brigade Commander Salman Akbar awarded three rifles and 50,000 rupees in cash to a local militia for taking "timely action" against the militants.

The militia had killed four militants in two areas of the valley.

The military recently declared Mingora and other parts of Swat largely free from militants after a sustained offensive which began in April.

But on Sunday a suspected suicide bomber killed at least 14 police recruits at a training academy in Mingora.


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