QUETTA: At least 61 police recruits were martyred and 117 people including recruits and FC personnel injured after three terrorists stormed the Police Training College located on Sariab road here late Monday night.
A Pakistan Army Captain, Roohullah was also embraced martyrdom during the ensuing operation against terrorists carried out in the hostel for the training centre.
After the terrorists stormed the centre, heavy contingents of police and Frontier Corps reached the spot and surrounded the vicinity. Pakistan Army, FC troops, as well as police commandos cleared the hostels after four hours of operation. Recruits of the college have returned to their barracks.
Talking to media personnel, Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said that three militants had targeted the guard of the hostel before entering the premises.
“The militants targeted the sentry stationed at the watch tower. He fought bravely against the militants but embraced martyrdom,” he said.
At the time of the attack, an estimated 700 cadets were present inside the police training centre, Bugti said, adding that two suicide bombers blew themselves up inside the training centre. One of the terrorists who was also wearing a suicide jacket was killed before he could detonate himself. The Balochistan Home Minister further said that 250 cadets had been rescued.
Among the martyrs of the attack eight cadets belong to Chaman. Some of them have been identified as Abbas, Ameer Muhammad, Najibullah, Syed Khan and others, police said. One of the deceased Naqeeb ullah was about to get married next month.
Attackers belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Almi: IG FC
IG FC Major General Sher Afgun informed the press that the attackers acted on directions from Afghanistan and the initial investigation suggests that the terrorists were affiliated with Lashkar-e- Jhangvi Al Almi.
“We came to know from the communication intercepts that there were three militants who were getting instructions from Afghanistan,” Afgun told media
According to a recruit who witnessed the entire situation, the militants had barged into the training centre and opened indiscriminate fire. “Then, they entered into the barracks,” he said. The militants’ faces were covered.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had initially said that five to six terrorists had stormed the police training centre. However, later Home Minister Balochistan revealed that three terrorists had carried out the attack.
Those injured in the attack were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta and CMH, hospital sources said. They included recruits, who attempted to flee the centre as terrorists waged the attack. Meanwhile, emergency has been imposed in the hospitals across the provincial capital.
Roads leading to the Quetta Civil Hospital have been blocked for traffic. Shops in the locality have been closed for business.
Bodies of the martyred have been shifted to Police Line for funeral prayers.
Balochistan CM claims security was on high alert
According to Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri, there were prior intelligence reports of an attack and security had been on high alert. Due to high security across the provincial capital, these terrorists had opted for the police college in a suburban area, he added.
Praising the security forces he said that the Pakistan Army and police worked together smoothly. “Security agencies fought valiantly. Those martyred in the attack are our heroes.”
“Will get to the bottom of this,” he added.
Prime Minister to visit Quetta
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has postponed all official duties and will visit Quetta shortly. He is expected to chair a special meeting to review the law and order situation of the city.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif late Monday night strongly condemned attack on Police Training Centre in Quetta and instructed the authorities to ensure safety of police recruits.
According to a press statement, PM Nawaz expressed concerns over the attack and directed the federal and provincial security agencies to bring the perpetrators to task.
COAS arrives in Quetta, offers funeral prayers for martyred recruits
Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif arrived in Quetta on Tuesday morning. He was accompanied by DG ISI Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar and DG Military Intelligence Major General Nadeem Zaki Manj.
The Army Chief visited the site of the tragedy – the police training centre in Quetta – under strict security. COAS General Raheel Sharif met with police, Army and FC personnel who participated in the operation.
General Raheel appreciated the bravery of soldiers and said it was through their efforts that more lives were not lost.
Later, the Army chief, Balochistan Chief Minister and other officials offered funeral prayers for recruits martyred during the attack.
People are sick and tired of collecting bodies of loved ones: Ch Nisar
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar lamented the loss of precious lives in the attack. “It is a sad moment for me and the entire Pakistan,” he said, speaking to journalists on Tuesday.
He said that justice had just become a mere slogan for Pakistan adding that people were sick and tired of picking up bodies of their loved ones.
Nisar added that the overall security situation of the country had improved and terrorism-related incidents had decreased but a single incident like the one in Quetta wiped off the months of hard work security agencies had put in to maintain peace.
C4 explosives used in attack
The initial investigation of the attack has revealed that terrorists used the highly explosive C4 chemical in the attack.
According to sources it was the use of this chemical which resulted in a fire breaking out at the hostel during the time of the attack.
We did not have weapons, say injured recruits
Recruits injured in the attack told Geo News that they did not have weapons. The recruits said if they had weapons they would have fought the terrorists bravely.
“If we had weapons we would have taught them a lesson,” said a recruit.
Other spoke of what they experienced when the attack was taking place in the hostel.
“The terrorist saw me and fired, after which they went inside the hostel,” said one of the recruits who was shot in his arm.
Army captain martyred in attack
A captain of the Pakistan Army, Roohullah was among the people who embraced martyrdom during the attack.
According to ISPR, Captain Roohullah was an elite Army commando and he will be awarded Tamgha-e-Jurat.
Security sources said the martyred captain was a resident of Shabqadar and his funeral prayer will be offered in his hometown.
Timeline: Major terrorist attacks during 2016 in Quetta