MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: At least five militants were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb apparently planted by a rival group in Pakistan’s troubled northwest, the Taliban and officials said Wednesday.
The bomb struck the vehicle of Amir Hamza, a local commander of the Sajna group in the remote Shaktoi area of South Waziristan tribal district late on Tuesday, killing him along with his four associates.
“A local commander of Sajna group and his four associates have been killed, they died on spot,” the local intelligence official told AFP. A militant source confirmed the incident.
The attack occurred five days after a ceasefire had supposedly ended a feud between supporters of commander Khan Said Sajna and followers of the late Hakimullah Mehsud in the tribal areas.
The local intelligence official and the militant source told AFP that the incident, suspected to be fresh rebel infighting, was the first violation of the ceasefire between the two militant groups.
Violence erupted earlier this month between the Sajna and Mehsud factions, both part of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) umbrella group, which has been waging a bloody seven-year insurgency against the state.
The feud began after Sajna, a senior commander, was rejected for the TTP leadership following the killing of then-leader Mehsud last November, militants say.
The TTP has long been riven by infighting.
Sajna had been seen as a strong candidate to become TTP chief following Mehsud’s death.
But the movement’s ruling council at the last minute elected Mullah Fazlullah, who hails from Swat and is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan.