Connect with us

Accidents

Pakistan attack: Gunmen kill 19 at Bacha Khan University

Published

on

  • As Taliban suicide blast hits media crew in Kabul, killing 7

Security forces have ended a gun and bomb attack on a university in north-west Pakistan in which 19 people were killed and 17 injured.

Four suspected attackers also died in a battle that lasted nearly three hours at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda.

One Pakistani Taliban commander said the group had carried out the assault, but its main spokesman denied this.

The group killed 130 students at a school in the city of Peshawar, 50km (30 miles) from Charsadda, in 2014.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement: “We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland.”

The attackers struck at about 09:30 local time (04:30 GMT), apparently climbing over a back wall under cover of the thick winter fog.

Intense gunfire and explosions were heard as security guards fought the attackers.

Students and staff ran to find cover in toilets and examination halls.

One student told television reporters he was in class when he heard gunshots: “We saw three terrorists shouting, ‘God is great!’ and rushing towards the stairs of our department.

“One student jumped out of the classroom through the window. We never saw him get up.”

Reports say a chemistry lecturer, named by media as Syed Hamid Husain, shot back at the gunmen to allow his students to flee, before he was killed.

Geology student Zahoor Ahmed said the teacher had warned him not to leave the building after the first shots were fired.

“He was holding a pistol in his hand,” he was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

“Then I saw a bullet hit him. I saw two militants were firing. I ran inside and then managed to flee by jumping over the back wall.”

The victims – mostly male students – were shot in the head or chest. Seventeen people were injured. At least one security guard also died.

There have been conflicting claims about who could be involved in the attack, a sign of the kaleidoscopic mix of militant networks evolving along the Pakistan-Afghan border region in the north.

The attack comes amid a sudden spike in militant violence in Pakistan, after a year of relative peace and quiet largely attributed to a 2014 military operation against militant sanctuaries in Waziristan. Questions are now being raised over whether that operation really destroyed the ability of militants to regroup and strike at will.

The attack is reminiscent of the December 2014 attack on a school in Peshawar in which more than 150 people, mostly schoolboys, were killed. But damage to life and property this time has been much less, mainly due to swift action by the local police, but also because of the fact that the university had its own team of more than 50 trained security guards on duty who first confronted the attackers.

A dense fog that reduced visibility to less than 10m may also have been a factor, as one police officer explained, because it put the attackers at a disadvantage against the university guards who knew the premises better.

In the meantime, a Taliban suicide bomb blast struck a crew affiliated with Afghanistan’s largest media group on Wednesday, killing at least seven people and raising fears of further militant violence against one of the country’s most prominent news outlets.

The attack came as U.S. officials said the Obama administration has granted the military new authority to strike the Islamic State in Afghanistan, a move seen as signaling a more sustained fight against the extremist group outside of its base in Iraq and Syria.

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the assault Wednesday, the deadliest against media in Afghanistan in recent years. Last year, the Taliban had declared one of the media group’s flagship stations, Tolo News, a legitimate target and accused it of promoting immorality and foreign culture.

In recent years, the station had regularly run anti-militant ads funded by the U.S. military and NATO-led forces.

Kabul’s police chief, Abdul Rahman Rahman, said the bomber detonated a powerful blast near a van carrying nearly 30 staff of Kaboora Production, a unit of the Moby Group, which also includes Tolo.

Chief Rahman, speaking to reporters at the scene of the attack, said at least seven people — five men and two women — were killed and 25 were injured on a roadway near the Russian Embassy in western Kabul.

“The target was Kaboora Production,” he said.

Taliban insurgents denounced Tolo over its coverage of the fall of northern city of Kunduz to militants last October. The station claimed the Taliban had committed war crimes in Kunduz.

Kunduz was eventually recaptured by Afghan-led forces backed by U.S. airstrikes — which included an apparent mistaken attack on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders. More than 40 civilians died in the airstrike and led to calls by the medical charity for an independent investigation.

“You cannot silence our voice,” said of the presenters on Tolo News shortly after Wednesday’s attack. In a sign of mourning, another TV channel belonging to Moby Group cancelled its regular programs and played Quranic recitations.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the van was under Taliban surveillance and called Tolo News an “important tool of warfare of America and the crusaders” in Afghanistan. He warned of more attacks against the station and its affiliates if its policies remain unchanged.

Younus Fakoor, a political analyst, described the attack as an attempt to “frighten the media in Afghanistan.”

A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul condemned the attack. “Murdering those who work to enlighten, educate, and entertain will not stop Afghans from exercising their universal human right to freedom of expression,” it said.

The privately owned Moby Group has 15 news-gathering offices throughout Afghanistan and business offices in Dubai.

Taliban militants have increasingly targeted sites in Kabul amid deepening rifts over efforts to restart peace talks.

Envoys from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are scheduled to meet in Kabul later this week to discuss possible peace initiatives.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who is on an official visit to Switzerland, said his government “would not negotiate with those who shed the blood of innocent people” and promised stepped up crackdowns on militants.

The United Nations in Afghanistan said it was “gravely concerned by the attack on media workers” in the country.

The Taliban have been on the offensive since the U.S. and its allies withdrew most combat troops at the end of 2014, and the insurgents now control more territory than at any time since they were driven from power in 2001. At the same time, a barrage of militant attacks in major cities — including at least one from the IS affiliate in Afghanistan — has left the public wary.

A defense official, speaking Wednesday on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal decisions, said new rules of engagement approved last week permit U.S. commanders in Afghanistan to launch airstrikes against militants affiliated with IS, in the same way that the military targets fighters linked to al-Qaida.

The new arrangement “enables the United States to more actively target [IS] in Afghanistan,” the official said.

Under previous rules, the U.S. military was able to conduct airstrikes in Afghanistan in three circumstances: to protect foreign forces; to help Afghan troops ward off an enemy onslaught; and to target al-Qaida and affiliated militants.

According to a second official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, the U.S. military has struck militants identified with IS in Afghanistan in the past, but those strikes were launched on the basis of the fighters’ “hostile intentions” rather than their affiliation with the group’s Afghan organization. The new rules were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

While the decision was not seen as signaling a dramatic change for U.S. activities in Afghanistan, it strengthens commanders’ authority against assorted militants there and, more generally, illustrates the expanding U.S. campaign against IS beyond its home base.

The change comes as the Afghan government struggles to beat back an emboldened Taliban, whose sustained attacks have jeopardized not just ordinary Afghans, but also President Barack Obama’s hopes of ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan before he leaves office. Amid worsening security across Afghanistan, the White House has several times altered Mr. Obama’s original plans for withdrawing U.S. troops.

Now the country faces a new threat from militants who have aligned themselves with IS and are mostly arrayed near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Afghanistan’s eastern Nangahar province in December and discussed the growing IS presence there with Army Gen. John F. Campbell, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Taliban and IS militants are battling one another for control of resources, even as both also fight government forces.

The granting of expanded strike authority follows the State Department’s designation this month of IS’s Afghan entity, called “ISIL-K,” or Khorasan, as a foreign terrorist organization.

BBC with additional report from Post Gazette

Accidents

12 Fear Dead In Kwara Road Accident

Published

on

Truck crushes 2 bike riders to death in Ogun

A total of 12 persons have been confirmed dead in a fatal road traffic crash involving three vehicles at Peke, along Olooru-Okoolowo, Ogbomoso Route, in Kwara.

Those involved in the accident included 21 males and one female, out of which 12 got burnt and sadly lost their lives, while the remaining 10 sustained various degrees of injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.

The Kwara Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Corps Commander Stephen Dawulung, confirmed the unfortunate accident.

Dawulung said that the burnt corpses were given a mass burial by the authority of the Hausa Community of Okoolowo.

“On receiving the report of the crash, our operatives at Olooru Unit Command were immediately mobilised to the crash scene for rescue.

“Vehicles involved in the accident were a petrol Tanker, a Trailer, and an 18-seater Bus following a route violation.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that the empty IVECO Tanker coming from Okoolowo committed route violation en route Ogbomoso, which led to a head-on collision with the oncoming DAF Truck, which ignited the fire,” he said.

The sector commander said that the Bus which was on its way to Katsina was behind the DAF Truck, but due to the driver’s excessive speed, he couldn’t stop and rammed into the crash.

He deeply sympathized with the families of the dead and wished the injured a quick recovery.

Dawulung advised drivers to avoid taking the wrong lanes, driving at excessive speeds, on night journeys, and ensuring they maintain a safe distance between vehicles ahead, to enable them maneuver whenever the need arises.

He reiterated that investigation officers had commenced a full investigation into the crash, assuring that the command was committed to discharging its responsibilities in ensuring the safety of all road users.

Continue Reading

Accidents

9 Bodies Recovered From Niger Boat Mishap – NSEMA

Published

on

The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has said that nine bodies were recovered from a boat mishap that occurred in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.

The Head of Relief and Rehabilitation in NSEMA, Alhaji Salihu Garba, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Sunday.

NAN recalls that ten persons were confirmed dead in a boat mishap that occurred on Thursday, November 16.

The victims, mostly traders, were reportedly conveying goods from the Zongoru Community of Bassa Ward to Gijiwa, ahead of Friday market in Kuta, headquarters of Shiroro LGA, when the tragic incident happened.

At least 34 persons were said to be on board of which 10 allegedly lost their lives, while 22 were reportedly rescued by local divers.

Garba gave the names of the deceased to include Farida Muntari, Sharhabila Sagir, Bubakar Sadiq, Na’ima Ibrahim, Amina, Safaratu Ibrahim, Sadiq Ibrahim and Rafiya Yakubu.

He said that the agency had yet to identify two of the deceased persons, adding that all the deceased were from Zangoro.

He further said that there were 24 male and female adults and 10 male and female children in the boat when it capsized.

Garba also said that a search operation was ongoing to recover the remaining bodies. 

Continue Reading

Accidents

Niger Boat Mishap: NSEMA Recovers 9 Bodies

Published

on

Fisherman found dead on Badagry waterways

The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has said that nine bodies were recovered from a boat mishap that occurred in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.

The Head of Relief and Rehabilitation in NSEMA, Alhaji Salihu Garba, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Sunday.

It would be recalled that 10 persons were confirmed dead in a boat mishap that occurred on Thursday, November 16.

The victims, mostly traders, were reportedly conveying goods from the Zongoru Community of Bassa Ward to Gijiwa, ahead of Friday market in Kuta, headquarters of Shiroro LGA, when the tragic incident happened.

At least 34 persons were said to be on board of which 10 allegedly lost their lives, while 22 were reportedly rescued by local divers.

Garba gave the names of the deceased to include Farida Muntari, Sharhabila Sagir, Abubakar Sadiq, Na’ima Ibrahim, Amina, Safaratu Ibrahim, Sadiq Ibrahim, and Rafiya Yakubu.

He said that the agency had yet to identify two of the deceased persons, adding that all the deceased were from Zangoro.

He further said that there were 24 male and female adults and 10 male and female children in the boat when it capsized.

Garba also said that a search operation was ongoing to recover the remaining bodies. 

Continue Reading

Editor’s Pick

Politics