militants-take-hostages-at-counter-terrorism-centre-in-pakistan

Islamist militants took hostages at a counter-terrorism centre in the northwestern Pakistani area of Bannu on Sunday. They were looking to negotiate with government authorities for a safe passage to neighbouring Afghanistan, officials said.

“It’s not clear if the terrorists attacked from outside, or if they snatched the ammunition from staff inside” while they were being interrogated following their arrest, Bannu police spokesman Muhammad Naseeb told Reuters.

Security forces have surrounded the compound, Naseeb said. 

The militants want to pass into Afghanistan safely, two other officials said on condition of anonymity. 

One official said that about 15 militants took control of the centre after overpowering interrogators inside. They grabbed their weapons and took five or six of them hostage. The affiliation of the militants was not immediately known.

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Earlier, Suspected militants attacked a police station in Pakistan’s Lakki Marwat district early Sunday, killing four police personnel and critically injuring four others, Associated Press reported citing the police. Nawaz Khan, an officer of the targeted police station said the attackers used grenades and automatic weapons on the station before fleeing the scene overnight. Khan said police personnel on duty retaliated and called for reinforcement before the attackers fled the scene. Police are searching for the attackers, the officer added. 

The deceased personnel were identified as Head Constable Ibrahim, Imran, Khairul Rehman, and Sabz Ali, according to a report by the Business Recorder. Their funeral prayers were held at the Lakki police line on Sunday. 

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack till now.

Pakistan has been fighting an insurgency by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. The TTP associates itself with Afghanistan’s Taliban, which had been trying to broker talks between the Pakistani government and the TTP.

(With inputs from agencies)

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