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Kurram clashes leave 95 dead, 200 injured

September 01, 2008

PARACHINAR, Aug 31: At least 95 people have been killed and 200 others injured in fresh clashes between rival tribes in Kurram Agency.

The fighting between Turi and Bangash tribes erupted again on Saturday and continued on Sunday after a few days’ lull despite a unilateral announcement of ceasefire by the Turi tribe in reverence for Ramazan.

The groups attacked each other’s positions in Pawar, Tangi, Karman, Para Chamkani, Maqbal and Nastikot areas of upper Kurram and Sadda, Balishkhel, Sangina, Inzari, Bagzai and Alizai in lower Kurram with missiles, rockets and rifles.

The clashes started when Bangash tribesman attacked Turi tribe’s positions in Inzari area, leaving five people dead and several others injured.The Turis formed a lashkar and raided Bangash tribe’s positions in its stronghold of Bagzai.

The area comprising about 200 villages fell to the Turi tribe and the lashkar occupied the strategic Esar Ghundai bunker.

Sources said that three suicide attacks were carried by supporters of the Bangash tribe against the lashkar, killing and injuring a large number of people.

A suicide bomber blew himself up in Esar Ghundai, another in a seminary and one was killed by the lashkar.

The injured people were taken to hospitals in Parachinar, Sadda, Alizai, Tall and Hangu.

The lashkar’s chief Mukhtar Turi claimed having seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition and some important documents from the headquarters of the rival tribe.

He said Old Bagzai area had fallen to the Turi lashkar, while fierce fighting was going on in New Bagzai area.

Clashes have been going on in the area for three weeks and over 400 people have so far been killed.

Thousands of people have been displaced and their property ransacked, looted or torched during the fighting.

Historically, sectarian clashes have been erupting in Kurram every three to five years, but violence would die down quickly because of a combination of political and administrative measures and use of force.

But the irony this time is that there is little tribal elders from the two sides can do although they are weary and tired of violence and want an end to the bloodshed.

The elders of one sect have lost their authority to a band of displaced people of their sect from Parachinar and Taliban militants, mostly from other tribal regions, while the elders of the other sect, although still having some say, are fast losing influence to a stridently violent militant faction called the Mahdi Militia.