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Militants raze homes of two journalists

A Pakistani journalist's family watched helplessly as Taliban militants blew up their house in the middle of the night, report the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), the International Foundation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

At the time, Rahman Buneri, a correspondent for Voice of America's (VOA) Pashto-language service, Deewa Radio, was in Karachi, where he lives and works. The militants targeted the home of Buneri's extended family in Buner district, which is located in Pakistan's volatile North-West Frontier Province.

About sixty armed, masked men stormed the house early on 9 July, forcing Buneri's father, two sisters-in-law and children to vacate. The militants looted and destroyed the family's belongings before placing explosives on all sides of the house. The house was reduced to rubble in the blast but no one was harmed in the attack, reports PPF.

Buneri told PPF the assailants said they were ordered to bomb the house to punish Buneri for speaking out against the Taliban. Buneri believes the attack stems from an interview he gave on VOA, in which he said that Taliban militants were patrolling the streets in several villages in Buner district.

Buneri's VOA interview contradicted government claims that the Taliban have been largely eliminated in the area, CPJ adds.

IFJ and CPJ also report that a day before the attack, the house of Behroz Khan, a correspondent with GEO TV Peshawar, was raided and set on fire by militants in another village of Buner district. Security officers reportedly watched the militants raze the home without intervening. Khan was out of the country at the time.

PPF reports that on 11 July, the Karachi Union of Journalist (KUJ) and the Association of TV Journalists (ATJ) led a protest in Karachi opposing the increasing attacks against journalists who cover the battle between militants and Pakistan's security forces.

More than two dozen journalists have been killed by militants over the course of the war, according to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

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