World News

Bomb blast kills 5 in southeast Turkey

DIYARBAKIR (Reuters) - Five people were killed, including two members of a state-sponsored rural militia, in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey Saturday after a roadside bomb exploded, security sources said.

The incident took place near the city of Sirnak. Three of the dead were civilians, the sources said.

Village guard militias were established in 1985 to help security forces in the southeast combat separatist rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a guerrilla force seeking an independent Kurdish homeland in the region.

The military and the government say the village guards, who receive training by the army and use state-issued weapons, play a key role in protecting villages against PKK attacks.

But the village militia system has come under fierce criticism from human rights groups and critics after members were implicated in a wedding massacre Monday in which 44 people were killed. That violence was blamed on a family feud. (Writing by Ibon Villelabeitia; Editing by Robert Woodward)