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Wednesday April 17, 2024

Death toll in Swat CTD blasts rises to 18

Death toll rises to 17 while over 51 still under treatment, police confirm

By Essa Khankhel & Javed Aziz Khan
April 26, 2023
Security personnel gather at the site after twin bomb explosions occurred inside the CTD (counter-terrorism department) police station in Kabal town, Swat Valley on April 24, 2023. — AFP
Security personnel gather at the site after twin bomb explosions occurred inside the CTD (counter-terrorism department) police station in Kabal town, Swat Valley on April 24, 2023. — AFP 

MINGORA/PESHAWAR: The death toll from the Swat CTD blasts has risen to 18 as five more people succumbed to their injuries at hospitals. Also, the provincial government has constituted a two-member fact-finding inquiry committee to ascertain the cause of the deadly explosions.

Three powerful blasts rocked the building of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Police Station in Swat’s Kabal tehsil on Monday night. The blasts ripped through the CTD compound, shattering its roof and turning the premises into a heap of rubble. A mosque located inside the police station also suffered considerable damage.

The death toll, including two officers among nine cops, three civilians and five alleged terrorists detained at the facility, has soared to 18. The bodies of the civilians were handed over to their respective families after identification.

Talking to reporters, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police Akhtar Hayat Gandapur said that nine police officials and three civilians embraced martyrdom in the blasts. He said that five detained terrorists, who were imprisoned at the facility, were also killed in the explosions.

District Police Officer Swat Shafiullah Gandapur dismissed the possibility of any terror attempt for the explosions. He said that investigators had examined the crime scene to establish the facts. According to preliminary investigation, a short-circuit caused the first explosion at the ammunition storage facility inside the CTD office followed by another blast after 12 minutes. A fire also broke out that engulfed the place. The multiple explosions also damaged the nearby houses, knocking down several boundary walls.

The main bazaar in Kabal remained closed to mourn the deaths as a pall of gloom enveloped the area, following the blasts. Also, Rescue 1122 service officials were still engaged in rescue and search operation. About 100 rescue officials using heavy machinery are taking part in the rescue operation under the supervision of District Emergency Officer Swat Malik Sher Dil Khan. The Rescue 1122 personnel transported the injured to a hospital in Kabal and the Saidu Teaching Hospital. Some of the injured, who suffered severe burns injuries, were taken to the Burns and Plastic Surgery Centre, Hayatabad, in Peshawar.

Meanwhile, the funeral prayers of the martyred cops were offered at the police lines in Kabal tehsil of Swat district. Later, the bodies were sent to their native areas for burial. The fallen cops hailed from Swat, Mardan, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Shangla, Buner, Malakand and Chitral. Eight of the nine slain cops were identified as Abdullah, Ashraf Ali, Sher Alam, Taj Mohammad, Asmat Ali, Khalilur Rahman, Bakht Rukhan and Fazal Raziq.

Meanwhile, KP Caretaker Chief Minister Muhammad Azam Khan ordered an inquiry into the blast at the CTD Police Station in Kabal to ascertain the actual causes of the incident. A two-member inquiry committee comprising Home Secretary and Additional Inspector General, Special Branch, was constituted.

In a statement, the chief minister said that an inquiry into the incident was underway, adding that though apparently, it was a mishap, nothing could be ruled out.

Azam Khan deplored that some elements were trying to use the tragic incident for political point-scoring without confirming the actual cause of the incident, which was inappropriate. Earlier, some media reports said a recently emerged group the Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP) claimed responsibility for the attack on the CTD station.