Two tribesmen were killed and at least four injured when clashes erupted between the two clans near Pak-Afghan border in Kurram tribal district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Saturday morning.
District Police Officer (DPO) Kurram Tahir Iqbal told The Express Tribune that armed clashes started between Pewar and Mangal Khel clans on the ownership of a forest in the area. He said that police and security forces had been sent to the spot to bring the situation under complete control.
Local residents said that the clashes started when members of Pewar clans came under fire on their way back from the forest.
“They went to the forest to collect fire wood but were attacked by Mangal Khel tribesmen on their way back which resulted in a full-fledged conflict between the two clans in which at least two people have been killed and four injured,” they said, adding that the now both the parties were targeting each other settlements and sporadic clashes continued till the evening.
“Both the sides are using heavy machine guns and even mortars to pound each other positions,” they informed.
DPO said that both the groups had a long standing dispute over the ownership of a hill and a dense forest on the hill.
“We are trying to disengage them and convince them to step down from their hill top positions as well as sponsor a ceasefire between the warring factions through local Jirga,” he added.
It is worth noting here that the court and political administration have already decided in favour of the Pewar clan in the past but still the ownership of the forest is disputed.
A government official claimed that the situation could lead to widespread sectarian clashes in the area if the administration failed to keep it under control.
“Mangal Khel is a Sunni clan which is known as Tari Mangal Khel while Pewar is a Shia clan part of the Tori tribe. Kurram is a Shia majority area and this could lead to sectarian violence,” he said.
“It is very much possible that some outsider fired at Pewar tribesmen in order to create this conflict or some trouble makers among the Mangal Khel wanted this and started clashes,” he said, adding that Kurram is already notorious for large scale armed sectarian conflicts.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2021.