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Pro-government tribal elders killed in Pakistan attack

  • Story Highlights
  • Attack near the Bannu district, northwest of Islamabad, killed nine people
  • Among dead was Malik Muhammad Sultan, active in groups opposed to Taliban
  • Such citizen groups, supported by the government, have angered the Taliban
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Suspected Taliban militants opened fire Thursday on two cars carrying pro-government tribal elders in Pakistan's violence-plagued northwest.

The attack near the Bannu district killed at least nine people and wounded others, said Inspector Ismail Khan of Miyran police in Bannu district.

Relatives of the victims later attacked a group of suspected militants and killed three, Khan said. He said he does not know if the people who were killed in the revenge attack were the ones who opened fire on the convoy of elders.

The convoy was headed to the Bannu district -- about 240 km (149 miles) southwest of Islamabad -- to meet with security officials, said Sultan Ayaz, a Bannu police officer.

Among the victims was Malik Muhammad Sultan, who was active in recruiting tribal members into citizen groups opposed to the Taliban.

Such citizen groups, supported by the government, have angered the Taliban, who have launched attacks against their founders in the past.

Bannu City is about 45 km (28 miles) east of the border with Afghanistan and east of North Waziristan.

CNN's Reza Sayah and journalist Nasir Habib contributed to this report.

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