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Fighting In Western Pakistan Forces Migration

Hundreds of people have left a remote part of northwestern Pakistan's Khyber tribal agency following violent clashes between an Islamic militant group and local tribesmen, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Locals told RFE/RL that fighting started in the Tirah Valley over the weekend between members of the Taliban-affiliated Lashkar-e Islam group and Zakha Khel tribesmen.

A total of at least 25 people from both sides had been killed in the fighting by April 11, they said. It is not known what sparked the clashes.

Sajid Afridi, a Khyber agency resident, told Mashaal that he had seen 14 vehicles loaded with people leaving the area.

"Large-scale migration is continuing from the Kokikhel, Naray Baba, and Maidan areas. They are leaving in vehicles and on foot," Afridi said. "Yesterday, I saw 30 to 40 vehicles arriving from Tirah via the Tauda Mela area of Jamrud."

Government officials, on the other hand, said they have not arranged for food and shelter to be made available for those leaving the Tirah Valley.

FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) Director Arshad Khan told RFE/RL that they did not receive any instructions from the central government.

"We have no information about any operation such as this [to help people leaving the Tirah Valley]," Khan said. "However, we have already from 4,000 to 4,500 displaced people from Khyber in the Jalozai Camp and if the [displaced] people from Tirah come to the already existing camps, they could provide them with shelter."

But Khan said they are not going to open new camps for the newly displaced people.

The migration of people from the Tirah Valley comes at the same time as the Pakistani government is forcing people from the Bajaur and Mohmand tribal agencies -- who are currently living in camps -- to go back to their homes.

They had been displaced following the Taliban taking control of their areas and military operations to dislodge the Taliban there more than one year ago.