At least seven people, including an anti-Taliban leader and his son, were killed in a suicide attack at a market in the Munda area of Lower Dir district on Monday.
Police officials say the attack took place around noon outside a bargain car market, near a busy bus stop, which killed seven and injured 22 other people. The bargain centre was owned by Muhammad Akbar Khan, also known among locals as ‘Sufi’. Police believe he was the target of the attack. Akbar was part of a militia that has been helping the police in their campaign against the Taliban and had killed two militants last year. The attack is believed to be in revenge for the death of those two militants.
Mohammad Karim, one of those injured in the blast, described the scene. “I only heard a loud blast, but saw nothing unusual prior to this bang,” he said. He said the area where this attack took place is usually very busy as a bus stand is also situated nearby.
At the time of the blast, there were dozens of people around. Karim said that around seven people were sitting outside the bargain centre when the blast took place.
The injured were rushed to the Timergarah and Munda hospitals for treatment.
Medical personnel at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar told The Express Tribune that at least five injured were moved there and one of them arrived dead at the hospital.
Members of the Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) said that the suicide bomber’s vest had around seven to eight kilograms of explosives.
Police sources said that the suicide attacker was a teenager, thought to be between 12 to 15 years old. His severed head was recovered from the scene of the attack. The blast also damaged nearby shops and as well as an unspecified number of vehicles parked at the car bargain centre.
Security forces cordoned off the area following the attack and were put on high alert in the district. Munda is close to the border of the Bajaur tribal district.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2011.