Militants attacked a Police Training Centre in Quetta, Pakistan late on Monday night. The overnight attack has left 60 cadets besides three militants dead, and 118 people injured, making it one of the deadliest strikes in the country this year, reported PTI.
The attack on the Balochistan Police College, 20 km from the province capital, began at around 11.10 pm last night, triggering an operation by Pakistani security forces who rescued hundreds of cadets from the academy.
Attackers reportedly entered the hostels of the training centre from the front gate and opened fire, possibly also taking some police personnel hostage and injuring 118 cadets.
“44 shaheed 118 inj #QuettaAttack (sic),” Sarfaraz Bugti, home minister of Balochistan province tweeted Bugti had earlier told reporters that the attack had been carried out by three terrorists, cycling back on an earlier estimate by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of “five to six terrorists”.
While two of the militants had blown themselves up, one was killed in an exchange of fire with security forces, he said. He had put the casualties of policemen at 20. “Security forces including the Frontier Corps and Pakistan Army light brigade have cleared 95 per cent of the college area,” he had said, adding that there were around 700 police cadets and recruits in the college hostel when the attack took place.
The three terrorists were believed to be from the Al-Alimi faction of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban, Frontier Corps IG, Major General Sher Afghan said. He told reporters that the militants were communicating with handlers in Afghanistan and taking instructions from them.
Security forces had “cleared the college in four hours”, he said.
Policeman who was guarding the only entry point of the college was among those gunned down. Bugti said the injured people, mostly police cadets and security personnel, had been shifted to the Civil hospital, Bolan Medical College hospital and Military hospital in Quetta. “The condition of some is critical,” he said. He said there was a Frontier Corps official and captain among the injured.
Meanwhile, 200 of the 600 cadets, present in the centre’s hostel, have been rescued. Five or six terrorists attacked the training centre’s hostel in Sariab Road at around 11.30 pm, according to reports by the Dawn. The Police Training College is located at sarib Road in Quetta, Pakistan.
Chief of the paramilitary Frontier Corps Major General Sher Afgan told reporters that the attackers appeared to be in contact with handlers in Afghanistan. He said the attacker belonged to the banned Lashker-e-Jhangvi group, an Islamic militant group affiliated with al-Qaeda. He said that many of the trainees were killed when the gunmen detonated explosive vests.
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 25, 2016
The Chairman of Tehreek-e-Insaf and former captain Pakistan’s cricket team Imran Khan, condemned the attack and called it “cowardly”.
A statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the Pakistan Army and Frontier Constabulary troops arrived at the site along with extra contingents of security forces. A cordon was established and there was an exchange of gunfire. Explosions were heard inside the centre.
An emergency has been declared in all government hospitals of the provincial capital, with the injured shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta and the Bolan Medical Complex. Militants have conducted attacks against security forces and national installations in Balochistan, which has been plagued by an insurgency and growing sectarian killings for more than a decade.
The attack came a day after separatist gunmen for the Baloch Liberation Army on a motorcycle shot dead two coast guards and a civilian in coastal town of Jiwani near the Gwadar port in the same province.
In August, a suicide bombing at the Civil hospital in Quetta killed 73 people, most of them lawyers. A splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as well as the IS claimed responsibility for carrying out the attack.