Saturday 21 April 2018

Militants attack police training centre in Pakistan

Local residents offer the funeral prayer of an intelligence officer in Charsadda, Pakistan. (AP)
Local residents offer the funeral prayer of an intelligence officer in Charsadda, Pakistan. (AP)

Gunmen have stormed a police training centre in Pakistan's southern city of Quetta, leaving at least 14 people injured.

The incident in Baluchistan came hours after another attack around 90 miles south of Quetta in which two customs officers were killed and a third was wounded.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for either attack. Baluchistan is the scene of on an ongoing insurgency by Baloch separatist groups, who have claimed such hit-and-run attacks on security forces and government officials in the past. Islamic militants also have presence in the province bordering Afghanistan.

In Monday night's attack, between four and six gunmen attempted to enter the hostel of a police training centre in a suburban area of Quetta. Six trainees were wounded by gunshot and another five were injured when jumping off a roof and climbing a wall.

Local television reported that two explosions were also heard, but it was not immediately clear what caused them.

Government spokesman Anwaul Haq said about 250 trainees were in the centre at the time of the attack, and that most had been evacuated.

Baluchistan police chief Ahsan Mahboob told reporters that four gunmen attacked the training centre, attempting to enter a hostel housing the trainees. A gun battle began when the hostel guards resisted.

Police and paramilitary forces surrounded the venue. A military statement put the number of attackers at up to six, and said Army and Frontier Corps troops were conducting a counter-terrorism operation at the site.

The attack came hours after gunmen shot and killed two customs officers and wounded a third near the town of Surab.

The customs officers were targeted by gunmen riding on a motorcycle, said Zainullah Baloch, a spokesman for the local police. He said two officers died instantly and the injured was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Earlier on Monday, two gunmen on a motorcycle killed a police intelligence officer in the country's northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Khalid Khan, a local police officer.

The attackers fled the scene after killing the officer, who had been on his way to work in the provincial capital of Peshawar.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack. The group's spokesman, Muhammad Khurasani, said in a statement that the shooters returned to their hideout after the attack.

Pakistan has carried out military operations against militants in tribal areas near Afghanistan and in cities across Pakistan, but extremists are still capable of staging regular attacks.


Press Association

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