PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a worship place of the Ahmadiyya community in the Canal Town neighbourhood of Mardan, killing himself and a security guard on Friday.
Police said the suicide bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his body when he was stopped by the security guard at the gate of the Ahmadiyya place of worship in the Muslimabad area of the city. As a result the security guard, identified as Shaikh Amir, was killed and five more people were wounded. Officials say the death toll could have been much higher, had the bomber managed to enter the worship place where Friday prayers were in progress.
The casualties were ferried to the District Headquarters Hospital. It was the first suicide attack on any minority community in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province since the beginning of the insurgency.
However, the Anjuman Ahmadiyya Rabwah gave a different account. “Two terrorists began firing at the Ahmadi Bait al-Zikkar when Friday prayers were in progress. A grenade was also thrown but it did not explode,” said Saleem ud Din, the spokesperson for the Jama’at Ahmadiyya, in a statement.
“One of the terrorists, however, managed to blow himself up at the door of the Bait al-Zikkar, killing the security guard and injuring three others,” he added. “The wall of the building collapsed as a result of the blast.”
He claimed were no security arrangements made by the authorities outside the Bait al-Zikkar or in the vicinity. And the second terrorist managed to flee the scene.
The spokesperson condemned the “barbaric atrocity”, saying that Ahmadis have been targets of such attacks for too long.
He said that despite the May 28 attacks in Lahore, authorities have made no adequate arrangements for the security and protection of Ahmadis. However, he added that the response of the Jama’at will be peaceful and non-violent. In another incident, a police patrol van was attacked with a bomb on the outskirts of Peshawar at around 10:44 am on Friday.
According to a police account, the patrol vehicle hit an improvised explosive device planted on a roadside near Pishtakhara Chowk on Ring Road. Three policemen were wounded in the blast. They were ferried to the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), where one of them, identified as Shabbir Jan, expired. The other two are stated to be in a stable condition.
Officials from the Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) said around three kilogrammes of explosives were used in the IED which was detonated through a remote control. (With additional input from Wires)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2010.
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