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Monday, 6 October 2008

Taliban-backed Bangash tribesmen attack Toori tribe in Parachinar

95 killed in Kurram Agency clashes

* More than 200 injured as Taliban-backed Bangash tribesmen attack Toori tribe
* Tooris retaliate with support of local tribal militia, capture opponent headquarters in Bugzai
* Taliban launch suicide attacks on tribal militia

PARACHINAR: At least 95 people were killed and more than 200 injured in fresh clashes between the warring Toori and Bangash tribes in Kurram Agency on Sunday.

According to sources familiar with the developments in the area, the Bangash tribe was supported by local Taliban militants.

Bangash tribe attacks: Despite a unilateral truce announced by the Toori tribe, militants of the Bangash tribe and the local Taliban launched an attack on their opponents from their Bugzai headquarters late on Saturday.

Toori tribe retaliates: Supporters of the Toori tribe and a local tribal militia retaliated and besieged the Bugzai area, trigging a fierce battle. The tribal militia attacked positions of the Bangash tribe with heavy weapons to force them to stop fighting.

Suicide attacks: The Taliban also launched suicide attacks on the tribal militia, killing 12 tribesmen.

Eight other tribesmen and 77 Taliban were also killed during the fighting, locals said.

After the hours-long battle, Toori tribesmen were reported to have occupied Bugzai - the headquarters of their opponents.

The local tribal militia also seized a large cache of weapons including suicide attack jackets from the positions abandoned by the Bangash tribe and the local Taliban.

According to local sources, at least 70 tribesmen and more than 129 Taliban were wounded in Sunday’s fighting.

The injured have been shifted to hospitals in Kotal, Hangu, Sadda and Parachinar.

The Toori tribe had earlier announced a unilateral ceasefire on the appeal of a jirga. Recent reports from the area had said the rival groups had intensified attacks on each other’s positions in several parts of the area.

Fresh sectarian clashes that began in Parachinar several days ago have left scores of people dead and wounded. Residents of the area said they had been suffering because of a shortage of food and medicine, as the government closed down the central highway leading to the area. agencies (Daily Times 1 Sep 2008)

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