Funeral prayers of 16 slain coal miners offered in Shangla

SHANGRILA: The funeral prayer of 16 coal miners was offered at district headquarter Alpuri Shangla, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (today) on Saturday.

The funeral was attended by relatives of the deceased, locals of the area, the provincial Minister Shokat Yousafzai, Minister for Mines Arif Ahmad Zai and PML -N and others.

Later, the bodies of coal miners were dispatched in ambulances to their villages in different parts of the district.

It is worth mentioning here the bodies of 16 coal miners kidnapped on 9 September 2011 by miscreants in the Bobo Khel area of the former Khyber Agency were recovered from a mass grave in Kohat on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Shangla Coalmine Workers Association Sarfaraz Khan said after receiving information about the discovery of a mass grave on Thursday they reached the Toor Sapawar Pastawana area and started an operation to dig up the grave.

Sarfaraz Khan further said Rescue workers initially recovered the remains of six miners, before finding 10 other bodies. The miners appeared to have been killed soon after their abduction; some of their bodies were identified through their clothes, while some were recognizable through their physical features, Khan informed.

On Sept 9, 2011, the coal miners were working their routine night shift in a coal mine of the Kala Khel area, 32 workers were powerfully taken away by miscreants at gun points. Of these, 16 miners managed to flee over the next months, while the other 16 remained missing. The 32 miners belonged to the Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Efforts to trace the abducted workers remained unsuccessful for nearly 10 years until their bodies were found today in a mass grave discovered at Toor Sapawar Pastawana area of KP’s Khyber tribal district.

Weeks after the kidnapping, the miners’ captors had refused to release them even if a ransom was paid. The abductors had demanded more than two million for the release of the kidnapped laborers and the local committee had agreed to pay the amount but later the kidnappers refused to release the laborers so the money was not paid.

It is worth mentioning here more than 50 bodies were found in mass graves in the mountainous area of Joaki in KohatIn in March 2012.