Pakistan army chief apologizes over civilian deaths

14:00, April 18, 2010      

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Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani offered his apology over the deaths of civilians in air strikes at a tribal region near the Afghan border, the army said Saturday.

The army earlier stated that air strike on a village in the Khyber tribal region on April 10 had killed suspected militants.

Tribesmen from Kuki Khel tribe had claimed that up to 70 people were killed and dozens others were injured when Pakistan Air Force fighter planes hit bunkers of civilians.

"The Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has offered apologies to the Kuki Khel tribe of Tirah Valley (Khyber Agency) for an unfortunate incident of April 10, 2010 which resulted in loss of precious and innocent civilian lives," the army said.

"He offered his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, " a statement issued by the Army's Inter-Services Public Relations said.

The Chief of Army Staff stated that he has ordered measures to avoid re-occurrence of such incidents in the future, it added.

The army statement did not mention as to how many people had been killed in the air strikes and earlier a security official said death toll could be more than 30.

Tribal elders from Kuki Khel tribe had stated that the fighter planes had struck bunkers established for self defense.

Source: Xinhua


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