QUETTA, Sept 24: A schoolgirl was killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a security vehicle not far from a military police checkpost. Twenty-three people were injured, six of them schoolchildren and 15 security personnel.
However, unconfirmed reports said that three security personnel had been killed.
Officials said that three injured soldiers of the Frontier Corps soldiers were in a critical condition. “Quetta Cantonment was the suicide attacker’s target of the suicide bomber,” Capital City Police Officer Mohammad Akbar told Dawn, adding that the bomber had walked up to the vehicle.
“The bomber’s severed head is intact and is in police custody. It will help establish his identity. Other parts of his body have also been collected,” he said, adding that the man was 18 to 22 years old. He said that two deaths had been reported.
According to sources, the suicide bomber was a young boy with a small beard. He walked up to two FC vehicles parked about 200 metres away from the checkpost at the Kandhari Chowk, near the Askari Park.
All FC personnel in the vehicles were injured. A schoolbus was also hit by shrapnel, killing Shahida Akhtar, a 9th class student, and injuring a number of other students. Security personnel cordoned off the area and took the injured people to the Combined Military Hospital and the Civil Hospital.
“The blast affected a wide area,” the police said.
CCPO Akbar said no army personnel had been injured. This is the second suicide attack in Quetta in 10 months.
In December last year, two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a checkpost of military police in Quetta Cantonment, killing seven security personnel. An explosion last week in a Madressah in Kuchlak, about 25 kilometres away from here, claimed six lives.
The CCPO said that an investigation team had been set up. He said that 400 to 500 more policemen would be deployed in Quetta.
Stressing that steps were being taken to maintain order in Quetta, he said that new pickets were being set up in the city.
The injured civilians include Durdana, Najiba, Shaheena, Aamna, Aasia, Ikram and van diver Wali Mohammad.
The injured FC soldiers were identified as Mohammad Sharif, Ali Jan, Mohammad Asif, Adil Rafiq, Ehsanullah, Amir Nawaz, Kaleemullah, Zafar Ali, Gul Rehman, Noor Azimm Faizullah, Abdul Qayyum and Asif Imran.
Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani condemned the attack and expressed grief over the loss of innocent lives.
They ordered the authorities to take all measures to avert any other attack. They said that the people involved in the inhuman act had no ideology. “They are enemies of humanity.”
They also said that such cowardly acts would not lessen the government’s resolve to root out terrorism.
They appealed to the people to help the authorities in their efforts to curb terrorisms.