7 injured in Jalalabad gunbattle
JALALABAD (PAN): Seven people were injured during an overnight clash between two illegal armed groups in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, police and residents said on Wednesday.
The gunbattle took place in the Ghalji Plaza, 500 metres from the governor's house, creating panic among residents, said Mohammad Jamil, a caretaker of the four-storey commercial building.
Jamil said it was 11pm when a number of gunmen stormed the building and started beating him and his four colleagues. The gunmen later opened fire at the building, injuring five people, he said.
Police reached the scene after 30 minutes of the firing incident, he added.
Police chief, Brig. Gen. Sardar Mohammad Sultani, said the clash was the result of differences over the building's ownership between Haji Idris and Raees Shamal.
He said the case was in court and the rivals had been told not to attack each other until a verdict was handed down. "Police have been monitoring the building to avert any untoward incident. Unfortunately, the incident took place."
Sultani said three suspected attackers had been arrested. He said seven people from both sides sustained injuries in the incident. The police chief also said the groups had arms licences, but they had no right to fire.
Lawmakers from eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday accused some of their colleagues and former jihadi leaders of having links with illegal armed groups blamed for insecurity and corruption.
Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar told the upper house people of the eastern province had told him that a number of illegal armed had emerged in Nangarhar. The groups were involved in insecurity, land grab, murder and intimidation, he said.
Residents of Jalalabad say they are fed up with such clashes, while security officials deny the presence of illegal armed groups. Asked about the presence of such groups, Sultani walked out of the press conference, saying he has no time.
Public Health Director Dr. Baz Mohammad Sherzad confirmed six injured people have been brought to the civil hospital.
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