TANK: Fierce clashes broke out between supporters of Baitullah Mehsud and rival Turkistan Bhittani in the Frontier Region of Jandola on Wednesday and each side claimed inflicting heavy casualties on the other.
According to sources, militants loyal to Baitullah attacked Bhittani’s men in Soor Gher area and torched 33 houses. They said that seven supporters of Bhittani were killed and 15 captured.
Bhittani’s men claimed to have killed over 50 attackers….
Two intelligence officials said that militants used rockets, mortars and anti-aircraft guns against Turkistan’s men. The officials, who cited wireless intercepts from the area, confirmed that at least 70 people had been killed.
Bhittani said that 90 fighters were killed and more than 40 houses destroyed.
There was no way to independently confirm the death toll, as the fighting was taking place in a remote, mountainous area that is offlimits to journalists.)
A senior official confirmed the clash but did not give details about casualties. “˜The local administration has no writ in the area and we have no information about the number of casualties,” he added.
Commander Bhittani, who enjoys the backing of the government, has emerged as the main challenger to the Baitullah group in Tank and Jandola.
The sources said the Bhittani group had eliminated the Baitullah group in Tank city and adjacent areas.