Gunmen shoot vice-principal of Karachi college

Updated April 16, 2015

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Debra Lobo. — DawnNews screengrab
Debra Lobo. — DawnNews screengrab
Debra Lobo. — DawnNews screengrab
Debra Lobo. — DawnNews screengrab

KARACHI: The vice-principal of the Jinnah Medical and Dental College's student affairs wing was shot and seriously injured on Shaheed-e-Millat Road, police said Thursday.

Police identified the victim as American national Debra Lobo, and said she was attacked by four unidentified gunmen as she left the college premises on Shaheed-e-Millat Road.

She was rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment, where doctors said that she is 'out of danger' after hours of treatment.

Damage to Debra Lobo's car in the attack ─ DawnNews screengrab
Damage to Debra Lobo's car in the attack ─ DawnNews screengrab

SSP East told Dawn.com that a flyer was recovered from the crime scene which appears to be from a militant group, saying the shooting was revenge for the killings of militants in the Kemari encounter this week.

A police official told Dawn.com that 55-year-old Mrs Lobo had left the college at 3:00pm for her home when four gunmen shot her twice in the cheek and shoulder. He added that she hails from California.

Jinnah Medical and Dental College, where Lobo is an associate professor of community medicine, is affiliated with University of Karachi and is recognised by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.

Debra Lobo was attacked by four unidentified gunmen in Karachi ─ DawnNews screengrab
Debra Lobo was attacked by four unidentified gunmen in Karachi ─ DawnNews screengrab

Karachi-East SSP Pir Mohammed Shah said the 55-year-old woman had been attacked by militants for being an American citizen. She hails from California.

Mr Shah said that a leaflet found near the crime scene said ‘we will burn America’ and that the attack was to avenge the recent killing of five militants in an ‘encounter’ in Keamari area.

He said the leaflet did not carry a logo of any militant organisation but claimed that they were ‘lions of Islamic State’ and ‘falcons of the caliph’.

At a news briefing Thursday, US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said: “We have seen the reports that a US citizen was injured in a shooting incident in Karachi. Our consulate general . . . there is in close contact with Pakistani authorities and is working to obtain more information. The local police authorities in Pakistan are handling the investigation.”

Earlier today, Preedy Police Station's Station House Officer (SHO) was gunned down in Akhtar Colony.

SHO Aijaz Khawaja was in his car when he was severely injured after gunmen fired at him. He was rushed to Jinnah hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Interior of the vehicle ─ DawnNews screengrab
Interior of the vehicle ─ DawnNews screengrab

Rampant violence has terrorised Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city and economic heartbeat, in recent years, but a recent security crackdown seems to have brought a lull in the bloodshed.

Kidnappings for ransom, sectarian attacks and gang warfare have spiralled since 2008, terrifying the city's 18 million inhabitants and prompting tens of thousands of businessmen to flee to the safety of Punjab province.

The city claimed a grisly record in 2014 as 2,029 people were murdered on its streets, according to the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the victim as 'Dr' Debra Lobo. This has been revised.