A group of 30 armed men attacked Nato oil supply tankers at the national highway near Khairpur, wounding four people and destroying 10 vehicles, early Monday morning.
According to reports, a few oil tankers, carrying fuel for the Nato forces in Afghanistan, were parked in Karam Abad at a highway hotel – a place where drivers often stay overnight and leave early morning.
Reports suggested that while the drivers were sleeping, a group of more than 30 armed men opened indiscriminate fire at the tankers, causing them to catch fire. The assailants disappeared in the darkness.
Ten oil tankers were gutted, while the district’s fire brigades managed to save eight from catching fire.
According to reports, locals from the area took the opportunity to fill cans and bottles with oil that had been spilling from three of the tankers, which were shot at but did not catch fire.
Four persons – tanker driver Fida Hussain Pathan, two cleaners Bilal Khan and Muhabat Khan and hotel employee Fida Jarwar – were injured and were admitted to Civil Hospital Khairpur.
Sub Inspector Mohammad Warris Bhutto told The Express Tribune that he was not aware of the incident. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Khairpur Irfan Baloch was unavailable for comments and his personal assistant was also clueless about the incident.
However, according to AFP, the police confirmed the incident. “Two drivers and a member of the restaurant staff were wounded and 10 Nato oil tankers were burnt when about two dozen armed gunmen opened fire at them,” local police official Mohammad Hashim told AFP.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the attack was carried out in ‘Taliban-style’ fashion, although no one has so far claimed responsibility for the incident.
Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militants frequently launch such attacks across Pakistan, targeting the en route oil Tankers.
(With ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.