Curfew in Mohmand as suicide attack death toll rises to 30

Published September 17, 2016
Paramedics treat an injured blast victim at a hospital in Bajaur Agency.— AFP
Paramedics treat an injured blast victim at a hospital in Bajaur Agency.— AFP

PESHAWAR: A curfew has been imposed in Mohmand Agency’s Anbar tehsil following a suicide attack in a mosque which left 30 people dead, local political administration officials said on Saturday.

After imposing the curfew, security forces launched a search operation in the area, Assistant Political Agent Naveed Akbar said.

The political administration also announced a compensation of Rs300,000 for families of each of the dead and Rs100,000 for each of the injured.

A suicide bomber targeted the mosque in Mohmand's Pai Khan village during Friday prayers, leaving at least 30 worshipers dead and wounding 30 others. Several children were also among those killed or wounded in the deadly attack.

Pashin Gul, the head of local tribal police, confirmed to the Associated Press that it was a suicide attack.

Jamaatul Ahrar, an offshoot of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing and said the target were members of pro-government tribal lashkars.

Read: Electronic media turns a blind eye to Mohmand mosque attack

Jamaatul Ahrar had also claimed responsibility for the September 2 attack on a court in Mardan, where at least 14 people were killed and 50 others injured.

The group had also said it was behind an attack on lawyers in Quetta, which killed 73 people on August 8, as well as the Lahore Easter bombing that left 75 dead in what was the deadliest attack to hit the country this year.

Poor rescue arrangements

Sawab Khan, a resident of Anbar, who was brought to the Agency Headquarters Hospital (AHH) at Ghalanai in the Mohmand tribal region with injuries, said he was offering prayers along with at least 200 other worshippers when he heard a shout of ‘Allahu Akbar’ followed by an explosion.

“There was blood everywhere [and] the verandah was destroyed,” he recalled.

Sawab Khan said most of the injured were waiting for vehicles to be taken to hospitals because there were no arrangements of transportation in the area.

Soft targets such as courts, schools and mosques are routinely attacked.

Read: At least 24 killed in suicide blast at Mohmand Agency mosque

The army launched an operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the tribal areas and so bring an end to the bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004.

As a result, security in the country has since improved. Scattered attacks still take place, but they are fewer and of a lesser intensity than in previous years.

According to data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal, 457 civilians and 182 members of the security forces were killed in Pakistan from January 1 to September 11, putting 2016 on course for fewer casualties than 2015.

Last year, the country recorded its lowest number of killings since 2007.

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