At least four people were killed and one was injured on Friday morning when gunmen opened fire on a passenger vehicle in Lower Kurram Agency, increasing the death toll in violence over the past two days to 11.
According to sources, the vehicle, bound for Sada in central Kurram, was intercepted by gunmen in the Zharonai area of Lower Kurram.
The political administration confirmed the killings and said that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
Sources said that all those killed were Sunni.
On Thursday, seven people, including a minor, were killed when gunmen fired upon a passenger vehicle in the Makhizai area of Lower Kurram. Locals who spoke to The Express Tribune said that five of those killed belonged to the same family. “They were going from Lower to Upper Kurram for an engagement ceremony,” they added. Ten-year-old Nabeel Hussain was one of the victims.
All those killed on Thursday were Shia from the Toori Bangash tribes. Following the incident, local tribesmen exchanged gunshots with the militants who managed to escape the scene.
Operation Koh-e-Sufaid – an army operation that commenced on July 2 against militants in Central Kurram Agency – was termed ‘successful’ in August. However, the Thall-Parachinar-Sada Highway remains closed despite several attempts to resolve sectarianism in the area.
It was believed that the Murree Accord – a peace agreement to end four years of conflict between Kurram’s Sunnis and Shias – would be able to bring back peace to the area. However, its implementation was obstructed by militancy still flourishing in the form of such attacks.
Tribal elders from the area confirmed that a grand jirga to purge sectarianism was held between the opposing tribes on Eid.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2011.