QUETTA, May 11: Six policemen of the Anti-Terrorist Force were killed and 13 others injured, six of them seriously, in five powerful explosions which rocked the firing range of the Police Training College near the eastern bypass area, here on Thursday.

“It is an act of terrorism and the perpetrators had used booby traps to trigger powerful blasts,” Inspector-General of Police Chaudhary Mohammad Yaqoob said. Two suspects had been taken into custody, he added.

A spokesman for a defunct terrorist organisation claimed the responsibility.

According to sources, the ATF personnel were attending in a refresher course for about a month.

The five blasts took place in quick succession soon after the ATF contingent had arrived at the firing range at around 8.15am.

“Some of the bodies were blown up and pieces of flesh and limbs were found scattered yards away,” an eyewitness said, adding that the air was thick with the smell of charred human flesh.

A heavy contingent of police cordoned off the area and the dead bodies and the injured policemen were taken to the Civil Hospital.

Many of the injured suffered eye injuries and were later shifted to Helper Eye Hospital. “Some of them may lose their eyesight,” a senior doctor feared.

At least six of the injured men are said to be in serious condition. “We are trying to remove splinters from their bodies,” doctors said.

The six policemen killed in the blasts were identified as Nasibullah, Bagn Khan, Ali Sher, Liaquat, Mazhar and Ghulam Hussain. Three of them belong to the Jaffarabad district and the others to Nasirabad, Chagai and Gwadar.

The IGP said: “Terrorists had planted landmines set to go off together,” he said. Similar landmines, he added, were being used by militants in Dera Bugti, Kohlu and other areas of the province.

He said police had already arrested a number of people, who were being interrogated.

“At the moment, I cannot confirm or rule out foreign involvement in this incident,” Chaudhary Yaqoob said, adding that police officers concerned were also being questioned about the serious security lapse.

A man, who identified himself as Mirak Baloch and claimed to be a spokesman of a recently banned organisation, said that his organisation was responsible for the Quetta incident.

He said his organisation had already warned police not to become a tool of secret agencies who, he alleged, were arresting the Baloch people and torturing them. He warned of more such attacks.

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