ISLAMABAD, Pakistan --Pakistani security forces killed 16 suspected militants and wounded 25 on Sunday in a besieged tribal region -- the latest round of a military offensive with no end in sight, officials said.
More than 100 people, most of them militants, have been reported killed in the fighting in the Bajur tribal area in the past five days. Security forces used helicopter gunships, fighter jets and heavy artillery to attack suspected militant positions Sunday in the Loi Sam, Rashakai, Tang Khata and Gollokass areas of Bajur, said Iqbal Khattak, a government official who provided the death and wounded tolls.
The government said late last month that it would cease military operations in Bajur for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but reserved the right to retaliate against insurgent activities.
Hundreds of militants were reported killed in Bajur in August in the military offensive, which also was said to have displaced some 300,000 people. The figures have been difficult to confirm independently because of the remote and dangerous nature of the areas involved.
But it is O.K. to instantly subscribe "suicide" bombs to Taliban, militants, etc.
Many families were fleeing the tribal region along mountains and gorges to avoid security checkpoints on main roads. Some used donkeys to carry their possessions.
One resident, Abdul Malik, was heading to the Dir area north of Bajur with his wife and three children. He said they were trying to return to the relief camp they'd vacated upon hearing of the Ramadan suspension.
"This is more fierce fighting than before, and we don't know who is killing whom, as no big figure has been killed as yet, only innocent civilians," Malik said.