Afghan militia 'kills eight civilians'

A pro-government Afghan militia commander and his men on Sunday shot dead at least eight civilians in revenge, after mistakenly blaming villagers for a Taliban attack, officials said.

The commander, identified as Qadeer, drove to Kanum village outside the northern city of Kunduz with about 20 members of his militia and killed eight villagers, the Kunduz provincial governor told AFP.

"The Taliban had killed two men and dumped their bodies in Kunum village. One of them was Qadeer's man," Mohammad Anwar Jegdalek said.

"Qadeer, thinking his man was killed by the residents of Kunum, went there and killed eight villagers. We have launched a hunt to arrest Qadeer."

Three others including a woman were wounded, he said.

Speaking anonymously, an interior ministry official in Kabul gave a similar account to AFP but said a total of nine people had been wounded.

The official said authorities had sent reinforcements to the area to maintain order.

Local doctor Taza Gul said 10 bodies were brought to his hospital.

Jegdalek's spokesman Enayatullah Khaleeq told AFP Qadeer was a pro-government militia leader.

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