PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP)- Fighting between rival Sunni and Shiite Muslims in northwestern Pakistan’s troubled tribal belt has claimed at least 90 lives, security officials and state media reported Sunday.
State television earlier said another 150 people were injured after heavily armed tribesmen clashed in the Kurram district bordering Afghanistan.
Major General Waheed Arshad said his information was that 80 civilians had been killed in fighting centred in the district’s main town Parachinar.
He said 11 soldiers from the army and paramilitary forces had also died in the cross-fire, with 32 injured.
“Security forces also suffered casualties because they were trying to avert the clashes,” he added.
Witnesses reported continued fighting overnight despite a curfew in place since Friday in Parchinar, where sectarian clashes in April left 55 dead.
Fighters from the Shiite-dominated Turi tribe and the mainly Sunni Muslim Mengal clan were perched on rooftops and hills overlooking Parachinar armed with rockets and a mix of heavy and light weapons, witnesses said.
“Both are well entrenched and they are firing on each other,” one resident said.
The provincial police chief warned the death toll could rise further.
Military spokesman Arshad said security forces had deployed in the area to try to bring the situation under control and prevent further violence.
Residents, witnesses and state media had put the death toll Saturday at 30 by the time night fell.
Shiites account for 20 percent of Pakistan’s 160 million Sunni-dominated population but are in the majority in Parachinar.