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Pakistani villagers protest killing of 18 in northeast, displaying bodies of the slain

Hundreds of villagers from northwest Pakistan are protesting the killing of 18 of their relatives in an overnight raid that they blamed on security forces, displaying the bodies of the victims in the provincial capital.

About 3,000 people gathered Wednesday at the governor's house in Peshawar. They said gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed homes in their area Tuesday night and shot villagers dead.

They blamed Pakistani security forces in the area for the killings. But an official with the Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary organization operating in the area, said the villagers had been killed by militants.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The incident happened in an area of Khyber Agency where Pakistani security officials have been battling militants.