Kurram clashes leave 33 dead

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    Kurram clashes leave 33 dead

    By Our Correspondent

    Sunday, 28 Jun, 2009 | 02:47 AM PST |

    PARACHINAR: At least 33 people were killed and 65 others injured in sectarian clashes between warring groups in various parts of the Kurram agency on Friday night and Saturday.

    According to sources, fierce clashes shook parts of Lower Kurram and the two groups were consolidating their positions.

    The local populace is bitter over the attitude of the administration, accusing it of giving a free hand to troublemakers.

    Haji Rauf, a tribal leader in upper Kurram, said the local tribesmen had fought Taliban for more than two years.

    ‘We have had over 700 young people martyred but have not allowed these militants to secure a toehold in upper Kurram. Now the influx of Taliban from Swat, Dir and other areas is worsening the situation.’

    Haji Rauf called upon the government to launch an action similar to the one under way in Malakand. He extended the assurance that local tribesmen would stand ‘shoulder to shoulder with our army and fight alongside our soldiers’.

    Paramilitary forces deployed in different areas of the conflict-hit region have so far not acted, a group of affected people complained during conversation with journalists.

    The fighting started in the region 12 days ago over a dispute on construction of bunkers in Khar Kali and Balishkhel.

    There were unconfirmed reports about infiltration of outsiders from Waziristan and Hangu district, but could not be verified from independent sources. The 12-day long clashes have left about 89 people dead and 175 injured.

    Both sides have been accusing each other of seeking assistance from outsiders. Local people said that fresh clashes had erupted in Balishkhel, Khar Kali, Sangina, Mangak, Kochi Parachamkani and Kirman.

    Doctors said that out of 20 injured people brought to the agency headquarters hospital on Saturday, four died.

    The Kurram agency has seen frequent clashes over the past two years. Residents said that ‘movement of the militants’ in the area had caused sectarian clashes.

    The main road from Thall to Parachinar has been closed to traffic for the past five months, causing severe shortages of foodstuff and medicines in Upper Kurram.

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