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Villagers in Northwestern Pakistan to be Armed

  • VOA News

Authorities in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan say they will distribute 30,000 rifles to peaceful groups and individuals for self-defense.

The province's chief minister, Haider Khan Hoti, said in a statement Sunday the weapons will help villagers in rural areas to fight terrorism.

The statement did not say when the weapons would be handed out or if they would go to villagers in Swat Valley, where Taliban militants agreed to a 10-day cease-fire due to end later this week.

Also Sunday, Taliban militants in Mingora, the main town in Swat, abducted and later released a senior government official and six of his bodyguards.

A Taliban spokesman confirmed that the official was with militants, but said he was a guest and not a hostage.

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