Five more killed as clashes in Kurram continue

Updated Jul 01 2020

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Officials said that death toll reached 10 in the fighting while 35 were wounded. —AP/File
Officials said that death toll reached 10 in the fighting while 35 were wounded. —AP/File

KURRAM: Clashes between rival groups over the ownership of land continued in Kurram tribal district on the third consecutive day on Tuesday, leaving five more people including a soldier dead as authorities failed to stop the fighting.

A paramilitary soldier was killed when he was hit by bullets near Balishkhel. An official said that the soldier was identified as Wajid Yousafzai. He said that a wing of the paramilitary force was deployed in the troubled area.

Officials said that death toll reached 10 in the fighting while 35 were wounded.

Thall-Parachinar Road, the only land route connecting Kurram with the rest of country, has been closed for movement.

The residents of the area said that security forces increased mobility on the highway and night movement on the road was restricted.

35 receive injuries, while deceased include a paramilitary soldier

Heavy clashes continued in the area on Monday night and Tuesday. Both the groups were using heavy weapons against each other. Several wounded people were shifted to hospitals in Parachinar and Sadda.

Sources said that a high level jirga met in Sadda, tehsil headquarters of Lower Kurram, but failed to negotiate ceasefire between the rival groups — Balishkhel and Para Chamkani.

General Officer Commanding Maj Gen Assad Nawaz Janjua, Kohat Commissioner Syed Jabbar Shah, senior officials of administration and local elders met in Sadda to broker ceasefire, but the jirga remained inconclusive.

MNA Sajid Turi, who also participated in the meeting, told Dawn that the jirga failed to enforce ceasefire after elders of Balishkhel demanded release of 10 people, who were arrested by security forces on Monday night.

He said that elders linked release of 10 people with the ceasefire.

Clashes between the residents of Balishkhel and Para Chamkani in lower subdivision of Kurram broke out over ownership of Shamilat or community land on Sunday.

Adviser to Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Wazir told Dawn in Peshawar that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan directed the district administration and senior officers of the law enforcement agencies to take action against law breakers. He said that situation in Kurram district was being monitored and efforts were underway to stop fighting.

Meanwhile, Awami National Party (ANP) called for immediate ceasefire between tribes in Kurram and asked the government to utilise its resources to stop hostilities.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, ANP provincial president Aimal Wali Khan expressed concerns over the loss of lives in continuous clashes and alleged that the administration and government adopted criminal silence over the situation in Kurram.

He said that government should fulfil its responsibilities, enforce ceasefire and bring the warring tribes to negotiation table. He said that ANP was ready to play its role to stop clashes.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020