Sixty one people were killed in an attack carried out by three armed militants wielding guns and explosives who stormed a police academy near the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan on Monday night. This attack was the deadliest in Pakistan this year after the Lahore attack that took place on the 25th of March in which 75 people were killed, and another in Quetta that took place on the 8th of August in which 73 people were killed. Most of the victims were young cadets at the academy and the attack took them by surprise at night whilst they were in their barracks.
118 people were also wounded when some of the cadets tried to escape by jumping out of windows. The army said the attackers entered the police academy which is located about 20km east of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, a restive province, on Monday night.
Hundreds of trainees were stationed at the college and many of them fled in panic during the attack. A cadet named Arsalan was injured and is being treated in hospital. He told AFP “It was about 10:30 pm (5:30 pm GMT), we sat playing cards. We suddenly heard shooting and we hid under the beds. The fire was intense and we did not know what to do”.
Hakimullah, another cadet who was injured said “They entered a room and fired, then passed to the next. They also knocked on the door to those that were closed by telling the cadets that they were their own, the army, and when you opened them, they were shooting”. The commander of the Frontier Corps of Balochistan Major General Sher Afgan said that security forces quickly rushed to the scene after the alarm was raised and that “the attack ended about three hours after our arrival. Both the Pakistani Taliban and ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack”.
A statement issued by the Pakistani Taliban’s local branch in Karachi that AFP received a copy of said that the motive for the attack was “revenge for the indiscriminate killing” carried out by security forces in the province of Punjab. ISIS’ news agency Amaq said that three Isis fighters “attacked a Pakistani police academy and clashed with police for hours before they blew themselves up”. General Afgan attributed the attack to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a group that is allied to the Pakistani Taliban and said that the attackers “had been communicating with officials in Afghanistan”.
The Pakistani analyst Amir Rana said that it is most likely that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi carried out the attack and said that “Rebel groups often try to bluff after a major attack for two reasons: to sow confusion and to take credit”.
The chief of staff of the Pakistani army General Raheel Sharif and other senior officers went to Quetta to attend a military ceremony in honour of the victims.