15 killed as rival tribes clash in Pakistan A file photo of a Pakistani soldier holding a rocket launcher inside a bunker in northwestern Kurram tribal district close to the Afghan border (Photo by A MAJEED/AFP via Getty Images)
AUTHORITIES stepped up security in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan on Monday (25) as local factions clashed over the possession of a disputed forest land, in an incident that killed at least 15 people in the past three days, officials said.
Cellular services were jammed in the Kurram district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to stop rumour mongering.
Officials along with local elders, the Army and police chiefs have arranged for a ceasefire between the warring groups.
The clashes began on Saturday (23) afternoon when the Gaidu tribe belonging to Teri Megel village in Kurram district, 251 km from provincial capital Peshawar, opened fire on Pewar tribe members who were picking firewood in the disputed area.
There has been tension between the tribes over the ownership of the forest land in the upper subdivision of the 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. Those breaking the agreement are liable to legal action, the officials said.
“Four people were reported dead on Saturday (23) and another 11 died on Sunday (24) 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 of Kurram.
On Monday (25) 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.
Many of those injured in the violent incidents are in critical conditions, the officials said.
Kurram is a district in northwest Pakistan along the Afghanistan border, where indiscriminate use of guns and frequent terror attacks are reported.