Sectarian clashes leave another 12 dead in north-west Pakistan

Other News Materials 13 April 2008 17:26 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - At least a dozen more people were killed and more than 25 injured in weekend clashes between rival Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Pakistan's north-west tribal district of Kurram, officials said on Sunday.

Fighting concentrated in the villages of Sadda, Khwar Kale, Balishkhel and Ibrahimzai where armed groups exchanged heavy fire, besides mounting mortar and rocket attacks, officials told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on condition of anonymity.

Sunday marked the ninth day of violence that erupted last week in the wake of an armed attack on a civilian convoy. Efforts by tribal elders had failed to broker an enduring ceasefire in the area.

"On the request of the local administration, the military is carrying out aerial patrols but troops have not been involved in any operation to quell the clashes," the officials said.

According to them, the administration was employing the traditional approach of peace councils, comprising local chieftains and influential figures, to put an end to the gun battles that had reportedly left at least 40 dead and over 100 injured.

Kurram district bordering Afghanistan has been plagued by sectarian violence since long, with the central town of Parachinar suffering the brunt for its predominant Shiite population.