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Gunmen kill 16 civilians in tribal border town

Sixteen people were killed on Saturday when gunmen attacked their convoy in a troubled tribal area of north-west Pakistan. Local officials said it was an apparent sectarian attack as all victims were Shiite Muslims.


AFP - Sixteen Shiite Muslims were killed and four wounded Saturday in an apparent sectarian ambush in a remote tribal town in northwest Pakistan, a paramilitary spokesman and local officials said.

The incident took place early Saturday in the Sunni dominated Charkhel area on Tal-Parachinar road in the violence-hit Kurram tribal district, close to the Afghan border.

The victims were heading to Peshawar in two passenger vehicles when unidentified attackers ambushed them in a hail of gunfire, officials said. 

Major Fazal-Ur-Rehman, a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps, confirmed the attack.

Local administrative and intelligence officials also confirmed the incident and said that all those killed were Shiite Muslims.

They said that the death toll may rise and added that gunmen managed to flee the scene.

Kurran tribal district has for three years been a flashpoint for violence between the minority Shiite and majority Sunni communities.

Shiites account for some 20 percent of Pakistan's mostly Sunni Muslim population of 160 million.

More than 4,000 people have died in outbreaks of sectarian violence between the groups since the late 1980s.

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