Pakistan: Ceasefire after troops kill at least 50 militants in north-west

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Islamic militants and Pakistani troops appear to have agreed to a ceasefire after government soldiers killed up to 60 Islamic militants during intense fighting in the northwest Swat Valley at the weekend. Security forces, backed by artillery and Cobra helicopters, on Sunday advanced on militant strongholds after six security officials were beheaded and seven civilians were killed in reprisals for an army attack on Thursday. The army targeted the stronghold of pro-Taliban militant Maulana Fazlullah leaving at least 30 soldiers and a number of civilians dead.

On Monday the militants and the army stopped fighting to allow burials to take place. But the ceasefire was unlikely to be permanent. “The bodies of 30 soldiers from the Pakistani armed forces are lying in a village near Manglore,” a spokesman for Mullah Fazlullah, Sirajuddin told Adnkronos International (AKI). “It is a temporary ceasefire from the security forces and we will not fire either until forces proceed or fire. We have demanded the release of approximately 20 detained men. Until they release our men, we will not release the bodies of our men.”


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