Pakistan Charsadda: Deadly assault on university

Pakistan Charsadda: Deadly assault on university

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Security forces have ended a gun and bomb attack on a university in north-west Pakistan in which 19 people were killed and 50 injured.
A militant gun attack has caused carnage at a university in north-west Pakistan, with at least 19 people dead and 50 injured.
Four suspected attackers were killed in a battle that lasted nearly three hours at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda.Troops continued to secure the campus, checking classrooms and dormitories, amid fears more bodies would be found.
There are conflicting reports about whether the Taliban militants carried out the assault
The group killed 130 students at a school in the city of Peshawar, 50km (30 miles) from Charsadda, in 2014.
About 3,000 students are enrolled at Bacha Khan but hundreds of visitors were also expected on Wednesday for a poetry event.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement, quoted by Reuters news agency: “We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland.”
Lecturer shot
Wednesday’s attackers struck at around 09:30 local time (04:30 GMT), reportedly climbing over a back wall under cover of the thick winter fog.
Intense gunfire and explosions were heard as security guards fought the attackers.
“I personally heard two explosions,” an unidentified eyewitness told Pakistan’s Geo TV.
“We don’t know if they were suicide bombers or grenades. I personally saw two explosions and smoke was rising.”
Students and staff ran to find cover in toilets and examination halls.
Geology student Zahoor Ahmed said his chemistry lecturer 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.”
Another student told television reporters he was in class when he heard gunshots.
“We saw three terrorists shouting, ‘Allah is great!’ and rushing towards the stairs of our department,” he said.
“One student jumped out of the classroom through the window. We never saw him get up.”
Images from inside the university show a pool of blood on the floor of a dormitory and the charred corpses of two alleged militants lying on a staircase.
Nineteen bodies were taken to a local mortuary. It was not immediately clear if the attackers were among them.
Taliban denial
A senior Taliban commander, Umar Mansoor, told media that the attack was in response to a military offensive against militant strongholds. He said four suicide attackers had carried out the attack.
However, the group’s main spokesman, Mohammad Khurasani, later told the BBC the Taliban had not been involved. He condemned the attack as “un-Islamic”.
An assistant professor at the university, Dr Shakoor, told the BBC he had turned back from the main gate of the campus after being told it was under attack.
Most of the students and members of the faculty would probably still not have arrived when the attack started, he said.
He saw people coming out through the main gate, apparently because the attackers had entered the campus from the back.
The university is located in an open area some distance east of Charsadda town, surrounded by open agricultural fields, and is therefore a soft target, the BBC’s Ilyas Khan reports.
Bacha Khan is a new university, founded in 2012, its website says.
Just days ago, some schools in Peshawar were closed by the authorities amid reports that militants were planning an attack. – BBC News

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