DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Kurdish fighters shot dead a Turkish police officer and wounded another in a southeast town on Friday, officials said, as clashes raged on despite a unilateral ceasefire announced days earlier by the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) group.
Gunfire broke out as state workers moved in to demolish PKK barricades and fill in ditches in parts of Sirnak, said officials, a town caught up in a surge of violence in the mainly Kurdish region since a two-year ceasefire collapsed in July.
Armored vehicles were stationed around the town and police sharpshooters took up positions on top of buildings as mechanical diggers arrived, witnesses said.
Gunfire and explosions ran out as security forces launched an operation to capture the assailants, they added.
Saturday’s unilateral ceasefire declaration came shortly after a double suicide bombing which killed 99 people at a rally of pro-Kurdish activists in Ankara. The government dismissed the truce declaration as a ploy ahead of November elections that will be contested by a pro-Kurdish party.
A top PKK commander was quoted on Monday as saying the group would stick to its ceasefire despite Turkish air strikes against its positions in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq.
Designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, the PKK launched a separatist insurgency in 1984 in which more than 40,000 people have been killed. The state launched peace talks with its jailed leader in 2012 which have now collapsed.
Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Andrew Heavens