File photo.

Islamabad - At least seven unidentified, bullet-riddled bodies were reportedly discovered in Pakistan's lawless tribal area, officials said Saturday.

The bodies were found late Friday evening near the village of Sarobi in North Waziristan, one of seven tribal districts and a known hotbed of al-Qaeda linked militants. A district official said that local residents informed them about the bodies.

But, by the time officials could act, the bodies were no longer where they'd been reported.

“We sent an official team to find the (bodies), but some unknown people had already removed them,” said the official on condition of anonymity. “We are still trying to learn the identity of the victims.”

A military official also confirmed that “some dead bodies were found,” but refused to confirm the number of bodies or any identities.

This is the second time in a week that dead bodies have reportedly been openly dumped in the same district. On Monday, nine bodies were recovered in Mir Ali area.

No one has so far claimed responsibility of the both the killings.

A Taliban spokesman claimed that the nine bodies found on Monday were those of Mehsud tribesmen who had worked with the Taliban fighters and recently been in the custody of the Pakistani security forces.

Pakistani forces are fighting the militants in the tribal areas and have accused in the past of extra judicial killings. - Sapa-dpa