17 killed, 30 injured in Hangu clashes
* All roads to area closed, shoot-on-sight orders against rioters issued
By Saboor Khan
HANGU: At least 17 people were killed and 30 others injured on Saturday in the ongoing sectarian clashes in Hangu, officials told Daily Times.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that fighting between the rival Shia and Sunni groups had been continuing since late Friday while army helicopter gunships were pounding the warring parties’ positions to control the situation.
The clashes started on Friday when people from Kohat, who were protesting against the imposition of curfew in Hangu on the eve of Ashura, were attacked by the rival sect. The two groups started targeting each other with heavy and light weapons.
According to the officials, the clashes are going on in the Khanbari, Singhar, Paskalay, Gungano Kalay, Malik Abad and Ibrahim Zay areas of Hangu city.
There is a complete power shutdown in the city and people are running short of edibles and drinking water. The roads leading to the area are closed and shoot-on-sight orders against rioters have been issued.
The district authorities convened a meeting of elders of the two groups in the DCO office later in the day to restore peace in the area. Various options were discussed in the meeting to control law and order.
A spokesman for the Home Department rejected a report that army troops had opened fire on protesters in Hangu, Online reported.
According to the spokesman, a mob consisting mainly of youngsters were fired upon by the rival sect when it crossed the roadblock on Hangu-Tal Road and started marching towards Hangu city.
He, however, said the law enforcement agencies had fired a few rounds to bring the situation under control.