Fifteen killed as rival tribes clash in northwest Pakistan; security stepped up

Apart from the 15 dead, many of the injured are in critical condition, officials said.

Authorities stepped up security measures in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan on Monday as local factions clashed over possession of disputed forest land, in an incident that killed at least 15 people and injured dozens others in the last three days, officials said.

The Kurram district administration in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has jammed cellular services to stop rumour mongering. The officials along with local elders, the Army and police chiefs have arranged for a ceasefire between the warring groups.

The clashes began on Saturday afternoon when the Gaidu tribe belonging to Teri Megel village in Kurram district, 251km from provincial capital Peshawar, opened fire on Pewar tribe members who were picking firewood in the disputed area.

There has been tension between both tribes over the ownership of forest land in the Upper Subdivision of Kurram district in recent months, officials said.

According to the truce, members of both tribes are now barred from collecting firewood from the disputed area. Persons breaking the agreement are liable to legal action, officials said.

“Four people were reported dead on Saturday and another 11 died on Sunday and today (Monday). The gunmen operated from trenches. Heavy weapons and even rocket launchers were used,” a police official said.

Over 100 tribesmen from both sides were making raids into the villages using guns, said the District Police Officer (DPO) of Kurram.

On Monday morning, heavy security deployment was made, which helped clear trenches and other hideouts of the raiders, making it possible for truce talks in the afternoon.

Apart from the 15 dead, many of the injured are in critical condition, officials said.

Kurram is a border district in northwest Pakistan along the Afghanistan border, where indiscriminate use of guns and frequent terror attacks are reported.

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