Child soldiers?: Quetta police arrests eleven underage bombers

Published: March 13, 2013
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Pakistani police produce young children, suspected of planting bombs, to the media in Quetta on March 13, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani police produce young children, suspected of planting bombs, to the media in Quetta on March 13, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

QUETTA: Balochistan Police on Wednesday claimed to have arrested eleven children aged between 11 to 16 years, who were allegedly involved in carrying out the  Bacha Khan blast in Quetta, Express News reported.

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Quetta Zubair Mehmood at a press conference in Quetta on Wednesday claimed that the detained children had admitted their role in the bomb blast that shook Bacha Khan chowk in Quetta in January. The convicts apparently worked for the little known United Baloch Army (UBA).

The blast at Bacha Khan square in January had killed 12 people and injured many others. Sixteen year-old Sabir, among those detained, was particularly used in that blast.

Mehmood said that the children had admitted to receiving Rs3,000 for each of the attacks they carried out. The CCPO said that terrorist organisations exploited the poverty of these children.

The CCPO further said that these children were arrested after an exchange of fire between police and militants on Tuesday night. He added that at least eight handlers managed to escape. Police also claimed to have recovered seven rockets, anti-personnel mines, chemicals, safety fuse wires, 10kg of explosive material, and explosive rods.

UBA had lured the children, who came from poor families, to leave packages containing home-made bombs in markets, dustbins and on routes used by police and security forces, Mehmood said.

Mehmood said the militants chose the youngsters knowing that police would not suspect small children or garbage collectors.

“Some of the children said they did not know what the packets contained and what they are doing,” he said.

“They said they were happy they would get a small amount of money for dropping the packets.”

Some of the boys, aged between 10 and 17, have confessed to involvement in about a dozen blasts in the city including the Bacha Khan blast where a bomb exploded near a vehicle of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC), he said.

The January 10 bomb blast killed two FC soldiers and nine civilians near the Bacha Khan chowk.

Baluchistan has been hit by an insurgency in recent years by Baluch nationalists demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the province’s wealth of natural oil, gas and mineral resources.

The province has also been the focus of rising sectarian violence and Quetta has been hit by two huge bombings this year targeting minority Shiite Muslims that have killed nearly 200 people.

 

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Israr
    Mar 13, 2013 - 4:57PM

    All children arrested and all handlers escaped? What a sorry state of matters……………You can’t be sure who is exploiting these children for their poverty. Is it the never-heard-of UBA or the Police themselves? Also, did someone ask the capable CCPO how these young children carried out the attacks?

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  • SK
    Mar 13, 2013 - 5:09PM

    Why we always have this “He added that at least eight handlers managed to escape.” problem in police operations? if they caught 11 children, why couldn’t they catch the handlers?….. unless black sheep are in police, we can’t expect any positive results

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  • Tamoor Rindh
    Mar 13, 2013 - 5:18PM

    Danger

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  • Hairaan
    Mar 13, 2013 - 5:31PM

    Whats an underage bomber? Is there a suitable age to bomb?

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  • MOA
    Mar 13, 2013 - 6:11PM

    So disturbing. This should convince the government to declare an education emergency in the country.

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  • Something Clever
    Mar 13, 2013 - 6:41PM

    @MOA:
    As well intentioned as that may be. It has nothing to do with education. That’s like saying people have to be taught to not blow themselves up. That’s just absurd. Whatever the cause, it’s something that can easily overwrite another belief set such as one gained from education. It always has to overpower another contradicting influence in every single case. Even natural human instinct is against it.

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  • HRK
    Mar 13, 2013 - 7:04PM

    The right course of action would be to
    1. Educate these kids now so that their lives could be transformed.
    2. Get their accounts on how they ended up with such people and analyze those weak points of our society to help clean up the mess we’ve created in Pakistan.
    3. Go after the ones they have mentioned and give them harsh punishments so that our kids could be safe again.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Mar 13, 2013 - 8:06PM

    one thing very strange not a single who was housing or taking care of boys has been caught but I am convinced people in police know them well.

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  • rp
    Mar 13, 2013 - 8:13PM

    educate them dont kill them

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Mar 13, 2013 - 8:18PM

    Complete de politicizing of civil police is the correct,legal and effective means to restore law and order.No matter whatever one do but last situation is with this police.This police still very effective holds complete knowledge of all criminals and terrorists.80%Police tasked on everything accept on law and order.Police Station are empty. .

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  • jg
    Mar 13, 2013 - 8:58PM

    how did the actual terrorists, all BLF or BLA culprits got away and left behind the boys.?????????

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  • Nadir
    Mar 13, 2013 - 9:03PM

    The children are victims themselves and not criminals.

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  • Mar 13, 2013 - 10:04PM

    These ruthless terrorist will go to any extent to achieve their evil agendas, even if they have to sacrifice the innocent children of the nation. Children are the future of any nation. They should be carrying books and cricket bats not bombs and guns. They should be in school learning about science, arts and even theology but not in some remote cave where they are trained to kill themselves and others.
    It is appalling that the terrorist leadership proudly take responsibility for these atrocities from their hideouts while children die without rhyme or reason. My heart goes out to the mothers who lose their children not only to the terrorists but the ones who are killed in terrorist bombings. We all need to pause for a minute and take a deep look at this… to save Pakistan’s future; we need to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of innocent children.

    Abdul Quddus
    DET-United States Central Command

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  • meer siarus baloch
    Mar 13, 2013 - 11:21PM

    every one in pakistan is going to be hero,fc recoverd
    many amounisions,now police found many child
    terrorists,heroizm exampels
    so we baloch are sandwich b/w fc nd police ,we know better that which game is going on
    , heroizm and adventuring and new experiments in balochistan which will end the atrocities of evil state

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