Pakistani police say tribal clashes over coal mine rights killed 15 in remote northwest region

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Clashes between two Pakistani tribes feuding over the ownership of a coal mine in the country’s remote northwest left 15 men dead and several wounded, police said Tuesday.

The fighting erupted on Monday between the Sunny Khel and Zarghun Khel tribes in Dara Adam Khel, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province along the border with Afghanistan. According to local police official Munawar Khan, the men were armed with handguns and assault rifles and the fighting lasted for hours.

Security forces were summoned to bring the situation under control and Khan said order was later restored.

The two tribes have been fighting over the ownership rights for the mine since 2019. Khan said it was unclear what triggered the latest clashes, and officers were still investigating.

Tribal clashes are rare in Pakistan, especially over coal mines, which employ tens of thousands of workers. Most of the country’s coal mines are located in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and also in southwestern Baluchistan province.

Pakistan’s mines have also been the scene of frequent and deadly explosions, mainly due to poor safety measures. Coal miners often complain that owners fail to take safety precautions and install needed equipment.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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