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Pakistan's militants release 8 hostages
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The militants in northwestern Pakistan on Friday released eight hostages two days after the army declared end of military operation in the troubled Hangu district.

The militants freed eight government officials on Friday, private Dawn News channel said.

The hostages were taken by the militants during the almost two- week long military operation by Pakistan's security forces in Hangu district of North West Frontier Province, which left 20 militants dead and sixty others captured.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said on Wednesday that the government's writ had been established in Hangu and miscreants were flushed out from the area, and the objectives of the operation had been achieved.

Hangu district has seen a spate of attacks since seven militants were arrested during an operation by security forces two weeks ago. On July 19, the militants gunned down 16 paramilitary soldiers after ambushing their convoy in Hangu's Zargari town.

Dawn newspaper said on Friday that a grand jirga consisting of tribal elders and local authorities signed a cease-fire agreement on Thursday and decided to resolve through talks all disputes arising out of the Hangu operation.

(Xinhua News Agency July 25, 2008)

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