Peshawar: At least 48 people were killed and 22 others injured on Friday in armed clashes between two rival groups over the distribution of water in Pakistan`s restive tribal belt, taking the death toll in three weeks of fighting to more than 100.
Fresh clashes erupted between members of the Shalozan and Shalozan Tangi tribes in Kurram Agency, local sources said.
The rival groups used heavy and sophisticated weapons to target each other`s positions and burnt dozens of houses in four villages.
The clashes over the allocation of irrigation water began three weeks ago.
Over 130 people have also been injured in the fierce fighting.
The bodies of 13 Afghan nationals killed in the clashes were today sent to Paktia province of Afghanistan for burial.
Sources said two key commanders of the Haqqani terrorist network were also killed in the fighting. It is believed that 10 suspected militants were among the 13 people who died in clashes yesterday.
Their bodies were taken into custody by local tribesmen.
Tribal elders and officials said they were facing problems in retrieving bodies and injured persons lying close to the trenches of the rival groups.
The local political administration appears to be helpless in controlling the situation as efforts to restore peace have not produced any results.
Local residents said the clashes had intensified after militant factions, including rebels from Afghanistan, began backing a group of tribesmen.
The political administration has formed a tribal jirga or council to start negotiations with the fighting tribes.
The business community of Kurram Agency observed a strike today to protest the government`s silence over the bloodshed.
All shops and markets in the region were closed throughout the day.
Kurram Agency has been virtually cut off from the rest of Pakistan for the past two years due to intense clashes between rival Shi’ite and Sunni tribesmen.