Officials: Two soldiers and over 30 insurgents killed in Pakistan

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

At least 30 insurgents and two Pakistani soldiers died in a fierce fire fighting between Taliban rebels and security forces in the Orakzai region of the North-West Frontier Province. Officials stated that the gun battle started when the insurgents attacked a military base with rockets and mortars. A spokesman for the Pakistani army in Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province, the Lt. Col. Nadeem Anwar said that the attack "started at midnight and continued until early Monday morning”. According to local government official, Sajjad Ahmad, troops opened fire aided by artillery when about 200 insurgents attacked a checkpoint. Ahmad told AFP news agency and stated that "[t]he attack was repulsed and up to 32 rebels and two soldiers of paramilitary Frontier Corps were killed". Eight soldiers were wounded in the attack.

According to Khaista Rehman, a local administrative official, preliminary reports "suggest 35 to 40 militants have been killed." While senior paramilitary officials confirmed such death tolls, no official figure was given.

As reported by an anonymous Pakistani military official, "39 militants were killed including their commander Saif-ur Rehman and four security officials...Nine security officials were wounded and seven hideouts were also destroyed," he noted to the AFP.

The United Nations said that it might have to close projects for assisting the people of Pakistan as only one-fifth of the funds they had requested was collected. The UN had appealed for 537 million dollars in February to aid the one million people dispersed due to recurring conflicts in the northwestern parts of Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border.

"The response by the international community to this appeal is inadequate," Martin Mogwanja, humanitarian coordinator of UN for Pakistan told reporters. "Humanitarian actors responding to the needs of the people are concerned that some of the projects may have to be suspended because of lack of finances," he added.

Only 106 million dollars had been donated to the body, only 20 percent of the total appeal. Mogwanja said that they were in dire need of the remaining portion of the fund and 1.3 million had been displaced in the northwestern parts of the country, against a total of 3.1 million last year.

Meanwhile, on Monday, five others died in attacks in the Abottabad District over the renaming of the North-West Frontier Province. Earlier this month, several people were killed during a political meeting to celebrate the renaming.

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