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14 killed in Pak tribal violence

Multan, March 31 (Reuters): Armed men in southern Pakistan killed at least 14 people, including a woman, and injured 25 people in an attack today on a small remote town inhabited by a rival tribe, officials said.

Tribal warfare has been raging for decades in the area where the borders of the Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan provinces meet, around 480 km north of Karachi.

At least 10 people were kidnapped in the attack on Kashmor, in Sindh, by up to 35 men armed with automatic guns, deputy superintendent of police Ghulam Shabbir Khoso said.

Another police official said the tribesmen later killed two of the kidnapped people and dumped their bodies a few kilometres from Kashmor.

Abdul Rauf Khosa, top district official, said one wounded man died of his injuries in the hospital, raising the death toll to 14.

Earlier, a local doctor, Liaqat Soomro, said 11 people were killed in the town itself. Police said about 26 people were injured, many of them bystanders, when the armed men opened fire in the main bazaar.

They said the attackers were apparently taking revenge for the kidnapping of their tribesmen more than a month ago and had attacked the elders of their rivals.

Khosa said that protests erupted in the area after the killings and protestors had blocked the main road linking the three provinces.

A crucial gas pipeline in the area was sabotaged in the tribal warfare in January, suspending natural gas supplies to many parts of Pakistan for days.

Since that attack, police and paramilitary soldiers have been deployed in the region to protect the gas pipeline.

This month a paramilitary soldier was killed and seven of his colleagues were injured when their vehicle drove over a land mine planted by one of the warring tribes.

Pakistan said today it was in the process of declaring al Qaida a terrorist organisation.

“We had started the process a few weeks back,” interior minister Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat said.

He gave no further details.

Pakistan was the main backer of Afghanistan’s radical Taliban movement that sheltered Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda until the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.

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