ISLAMABAD, Oct 22 Unidentified gunmen ambushed a military jeep in the federal capital's G-11 Sector on Thursday, killing a serving brigadier and his driver. An armed soldier was injured.
The gunmen struck at 8.15am when Brigadier Moinuddin Ahmed was on way to an army office. The brigadier and the driver, Lance Naik Asghar Ali, died instantaneously. Havaldar Sabir Hussain, the guard, was taken to hospital in critical condition.
He is the third high-ranking military officer to have been killed by terrorists in less than two weeks. Another brigadier and a lieutenant-colonel lost their lives in the commando-style raid on the GHQ, Rawalpindi, on Oct 10.
Brig Moin was on deputation with the UN peace force in Sudan and was spending vacations with his family in Islamabad. He was to fly back to Sudan on Friday.
The Namaz-i-Janaza was offered in Rawalpindi Garrison and attended by Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee's Chairman Gen Tariq Majeed, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and other senior military officers.
The brigadier was attacked shortly after he left his house in Sector F-11.
After the shootout, the terrorists, said to be more than three, disappeared into a residential locality of Sector G-11/1, sending a wave of alarm through the area. Police and intelligence officials cordoned off the area and arrested a few suspects, including the administrator of Madressah Noorul Furqan.
It was evident that the shooting had been carried out from various directions as walls and shutters of roadside shops bore bullet marks. “There must have been be more than three gunmen who attacked the brigadier from different sides,” Islamabad SSP Tahir Khan told reporters at the place of the attack.
According to a witness, the incident took place about one kilometre away from the house of the brigadier.
The driver lost control over the military jeep after being hit by bullets in the ambush and hit a tractor-trolley parked on the roadside.
“Two of the terrorists were on a motorbike and another was on foot. The gunmen on the motorbike opened fire from the left side of the vehicle, while the other one went close to the vehicle and shot Brig Moinuddin and the driver from the front, killing both on the spot,” said a witness, Ghulam Ahmed of Mehrabad village.
It was learnt that policemen deployed at a nearby picket were immediately informed that the terrorists had fled into the residential area, but they did not chase them.
“We informed them shortly after the terrorists escaped, but police did not chase them,” Ghulam Ahmed told journalists. He was picked up by police and taken to an unspecified place.
A shopkeeper, Naveed Haider, said he saw a man running frantically, his face covered by a yellow cloth, before he heard gunshots.
No one from houses close to the scene of the shootout came out till police and media teams remained there.
A black taxi owned by a mechanic was also damaged and sent to Golra police station.
The owner, Mohammad Rashid who runs an auto workshop near the scene, said he had opened his shop before the incident took place, but he hid after hearing the gunshots and did not dare come out till the
gunmen melted away.
“After some time, I came out and saw that both military officials on the front seats of the jeep had died and the man on the back seat was badly injured,” he said.
Preliminary investigations suggested that three attackers had escaped on a motorcycle.
A heavy contingent of police combed Dhok Kashmiryan, Mehrabad, Golra and I-11, including some slums and bushes near the crime scene. Over 80 people were arrested.