Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Terrorists storm Pakistani University, More than dozens killed

Terrorists storm Pakistani University, More than dozens killed

   Unidentified gunmen entered Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkha’s Charsadda town in Pakistan around 9.30 am and opened fire on students and faculty members who had gathered at the school for a poetry recital to commemorate the anniversary of the peace activist whom the institution is named after.

    Mass casualties are feared in the attack reminiscent of the deadly December 2014 terrorist strike on the Army Public School in Peshawar which left over 140 dead — most of them students.

An Edhi volunteer said he has seen the bodies of at least 15 people.

   One Rescue 1122 official said, “The boys section [of the hostel] has been affected. Victims have mostly been hit by bullets.”

   About 3,000 students and 600 guests has gathered at the campus to hear the poetry recital when the gunmen targeted them.

   DIG Saeed Wazir said two attackers have been killed. A professor identified as Dr. Hamid of the Chemistry Department was also among the killed, according to a teacher who survived the attack.

    Security personnel are still entering the school to control the situation. Wazir said most of the students had been rescued but several gunmen remained at large inside the university.

   The remaining terrorists are giving stiff resistance to security forces. Intelligence sources say eight to 10 terrorists are still inside the school.

    The families of students have gathered outside the school. Journalists and all other non-essential personnel have been asked to stay back.

    Emergency has been declared at major hospitals. The district headquarters (DHQ) hospital is treating nine of the injured. As many as 50 people injured were treated on site. Those in critical condition are being shifted to hospitals in Peshawar.

   A teacher told a Geo News anchorman on phone that an explosion had taken place at the campus amid gunfire.

    Pakistan Army helicopters are monitoring the situation to provide better spatial awareness to the forces conducting the operation on ground.

     According to one witness who escaped the terror attack, the gunmen had taken position at the entry points of the university. “I saw three attackers engaged in an exchange of fire with security guards of the university. One was positioned at the roof, another near the corner and the third near the wall.”

   “We rescued the university’s guards and then I saw the attackers engage the arriving police party.”

   Attackers are believed to be on the second and third floors of the campus buildings.

    Shabir Khan, a lecturer in the English department, said he was about to leave the hostel for the department when firing began.

    “Most of the students and staff were in classes when the firing began,” Khan said. “I had no idea about what’s going on but I heard one security official talking on the phone to someone saying many people had been killed or injured.”

from Asia Times

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