BANNU: Nine persons — three policemen, a soldier, two civilians and three suicide bombers — were killed while five others, including a station house officer (SHO), sustained injuries in a suicide attack targeting the Kakki Police Station, officials said on Monday.
The sources said three suicide bombers tried to enter the police station, sited 17 kilometres from the Bannu city, early in the day. When the guard at the entrance resisted, one of them blew himself up while another bomber went to hide in the nearby mosque and the third one was killed by the policemen.
Hearing the blast, armed civilians in the area reached the spot to assist the police. The bomber, who was hiding in the mosque, attacked the civilians with a hand-grenade and then opened fire, killing three policemen, two civilians and a soldier.
In the retaliatory fire, the police killed the bomber inside the mosque. Those killed included police constables Imranullah, Bashir Khan and Ziauddin, Pakistan Army soldier Naeemullah Khan and civilians Hayatullah and Balqiaz Khan.
The injured included SHO of the police station, Abdul Hameed Marwat, police constables Aqib, Naeemullah and Said Rehman and civilian Noor Ali Khan.
Naeemullah, a soldier posted at the Kharian Cantonment, had recently come home on leave and was killed in the incident. The three cops — Imranullah, Bashir Khan and Ziauddin — were also on leave but joined the armed civilians to assist the police in tackling the suicide bombers.
The dead and injured were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital in Bannu.Following the incident, a large contingent of the police rushed to the spot and cordoned off the site to collect pieces of evidence.
Limbs of the suicide bombers were seen scattered on the spot. The sources said the police arrested some suspects during a search operation after the incident.Reports suggested that five bombers had been seen roaming near the police station building. Two blew themselves up and two others were killed by the police while another managed to escape.
After the incident, Bannu Division Commissioner Syed Amiruddin Shah, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Bannu Police Nisar Ahmed Tanoli, District Police Officer Waqar Ahmed Khan, Assistant Coordination Officer Ubaidullah and several political leaders visited the DHQ Hospital to enquire after the health of the injured cops and civilians.
The authorities tightened security around all the police stations and government installations in the district after the incident.
Medical Superintendent Dr Muhammad Iqbal Marwat said emergency had been declared in the DHQ Hospital and personnelof the law-enforcement agencies had been deployed at all the entrances to the hospital.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters by phone from an undisclosed location, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed responsibility for the attack on the Kakki Police Station. “We wanted to avenge the recent killing of late TTP chief Baitullah Mahsud’s nephew Ibrahim Mahsud by the police.” Ibrahim Mahsud was killed in Bannu.
APP adds: President Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the attack and reiterated the resolve to continue the struggle against the militant mindset. He said the government will not be deterred by such acts.
President Zardari directed the provincial authorities for the provision of best possible medical treatment to the injured.He also expressed sympathies with the bereaved families and prayed to Allah Almighty to shower his blessings on those who lost their lives and for courage to their families and friends to bear the loss with equanimity.