The death toll from Friday’s devastating attack in a mosque in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency rose to 51 on Saturday, as three more victims succumbed to their injuries at local hospitals, the political administration said.
Officials of the political administration said that over 120 people injured in the blast are being treated at three major hospitals of Peshawar. Of the total, 35 of the injured are being treated at the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), 42 at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), while 43 have been admitted to the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH).
Local people said that Ghundi remained tense the day after the blast, with villagers mourning the deaths of over 50 people.
Sources said that political authorities are yet to visit the crime scene, adding that people were highly critical of their absence. They also criticised the MNAs from Khyber Agency for doing and saying nothing over the incident.
The attack has, however, raised questions in the minds of the local people, who said that the mosque contained no prominent personality at the time of the attack.
“This was a local mosque, there was no lashkar, senior government official or tribal elder in the mosque when the attack was carried out,” a local told The Express Tribune while requesting anonymity.
However, a tribesman contacted by this correspondent believed that the attack could be a response to the Kokikhel tribe’s stance against militancy. Following the killing of a cleric, who hailed from the Kokikhel tribe, earlier in March by militants loyal to Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI), the tribe banned militants from use its territory.
“Militants wanted to make their centre in the Rajgal area in the remote Tirah Valley of the Khyber Agency, which is controlled by the Kokikhels,” a source told The Express Tribune.
Sources said that local people had seen militant movement close to the mosque some two days ago, which might have had something to do with the blast.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.