KHAR, Pakistan, (AP) – Suspected Islamic militants shot dead a pro-government tribal chief and wounded three other people in an attack early Monday near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, an official said.
Assailants opened fire on Malik Shahjehan Khan as he passed by in a car on the outskirts of Khar, the main town of Bajur tribal area, said Mohammed Habib Khan, a local security official. Shahjehan Khan died at the scene.
Another tribal chief who was in the same car with Shahjehan Khan, their driver and a passer-by were wounded in the shooting, the official said.
The security official said the slain tribal chief had opposed the presence of foreign Islamic militants in Bajur tribal area and had survived several previous attacks on him.
Taliban- and al-Qaeda-linked militants operate in Bajur.
Scores of tribesmen have been killed in Pakistan’s tribal regions near Afghanistan in recent years after being accused of spying for the U.S. or collaborating with the Pakistani government.
Over the weekend in Mohmand, a tribal area neighboring Bajur, supporters of Pakistan’s chief Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud executed two commanders from a breakaway faction for allegedly slaying a Mehsud commander.
The executions followed clashes between the two groups that left at least 10 dead.
The violence underscores the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan’s volatile northwest and the government’s fragile grip on the region.
Over the past week, security forces have killed 15 militants and detained 60 others in the Hangu region, the first major action against insurgents since a new civilian administration took power after February elections. The government had hoped to bring peace to the region through dialogue.