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Eight killed in minibus attack

Eight people were killed when gunmen attacked a minibus in a part of north-west Pakistan that has seen a recent peace deal between rival Sunni and Shi'ite tribes.

The gunmen who carried out the ambush in the Bagan area of the Kurram tribal region also kidnapped 18 people from the bus.

The attack on the minibus, carrying mostly Shi'ite Muslims, was the latest blow to the peace deal, which was meant to end a four-year conflict that cost hundreds of lives but has failed to extinguish violence in the area.

The bus was travelling on the main road through Kurram, connecting the main town in the region, Parachinar, with Peshawar, the capital of nearby Khyber Pakhtunwkha province.

Violence kept the road closed until the peace deal was struck last month.

The bus was mostly carrying people from the Toori tribe, one of the main Shi'ite tribes that struck the peace deal.

Earlier this month, a similar attack killed nine people who were travelling on the road from Parachinar, a Shi'ite-dominated town.

Tribesmen in Kurram have reported that the Haqqani network - a fiercely independent branch of the Afghan Taliban and a major enemy of US and Nato forces - had helped cut the deal with the Shi'ites so it could use Kurram as a staging ground for fighting in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, who adhere to a hard-line interpretation of Sunni Islam, have at times exploited sectarian and tribal feuds to spread their influence along the Pakistan-Afghan border.

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