12 dead as rival gangs clash in Pakistan's Karachi

March 12, 2014 - 11:04:57 am

KARACHI: Twelve people including four women were killed on Wednesday in a violent clash between two gangs in Pakistan's Karachi, officials said, with the death toll feared to rise.

"The clash erupted this morning when two gangs exchanged heavy gunfire. Later they fired RPGs and lobbed hand grenades at each other," senior police official Faisal Bashir said.

He added that 39 people, including 15 schoolchildren, were injured.

Bashir said the violence had erupted after one of the gangs had kidnapped a member of the other gang the night before.

Sporadic gunfire could still be heard from the scene, according to an AFP reporter. Police were preventing journalists from entering the area.

Dr Purshotum Das, a senior official at the Civil Hospital Karachi confirmed the attack and said: "We have received 12 dead bodies."

The attack took place in Lyari, one of the poorest and most violent neighbourhoods of Karachi where clashes between rival gangs linked to political and ethnic groups erupt continuously.

Karachi, a city of 18 million people which contributes 42 percent of Pakistan's GDP, has been plagued by sectarian, ethnic and political violence for years. (AFP)