PARACHINAR, April 7: The army took control of Parachinar on Saturday after overnight heavy gun battles between two sectarian groups here. Fierce clashes continued in other parts of the Kurram Agency, officials said.

Cobra helicopters targeted suspected locations in and around the town to dislodge combatants from their positions. The army and paramilitary forces, backed by armoured personnel carriers, entered the Parachinar town and secured positions at around 11am.

Fata’s secretary for security Arbab Mohammad Arif told reporters in Peshawar that 40 people had been killed and 70 wounded in the two days of fighting.

Officials said the curfew imposed in the area was effective and the city had been sealed completely.

Political agent Sahibzada Mohammad Anees said troops had been issued a ‘shoot at sight order’ if any person was found violating the curfew.

He said troops had entered the town to remove bodies and the wounded. He put the toll at 10 with another 50 wounded.

He said more troops were proceeding to the troubled Parachinar town and other areas to restore law and order in the agency.

Hospital sources said 15 bodies had been counted so far and 62 injured had been taken to the city’s main hospital and private clinics.

An official source said three government employees were among the dead.

Mr Anees said a jirga comprising elders of both sects was being organised to broker a ceasefire.

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