QUETTA: At least 61 security personnel were martyred and 117 injured when terrorists stormed the Police Training College located on Sariab Road late Monday night.
The terrorists entered the hostel of the centre and opened fire on the security personnel.Â According to personnel in the hostel, the terrorists started firing point blank.
After the terrorists stormed the centre,Â heavy contingents of police and Frontier Corps reached the spot and surrounded the vicinity. Pakistan Army, FC troops, as well as police commandos cleared the hostelsÂ after four hours of operation. Following the operation, recruits of the college returned to their barracks.
Talking to journalists, Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti saidÂ that three militants had targeted the guard of the hostel before entering the premises.
“The militants targeted the sentry stationed at the watch tower. He fought bravely against the militants but embraced martyrdom,” heÂ said.
At the time of the attack, an estimated 700 cadets were present inside the police training centre, Bugti said, adding that two suicide bombers blew themselves up inside the training centre. One of the terrorists who was also wearing a suicide jacket was killed before he could detonate his explosives. The Balochistan Home Minister further said that 250 cadets had been rescued.
A Pakistan Army captain also embraced martyrdom in the ensuing security forces operation at the hostel.
IG FC Major General Sher Afgun informed the press that the attackers acted onÂ directions from Afghanistan and the initial investigation suggests that the terrorists were affiliated with the outlawed Lashkar-e- Jhangvi Al Almi militant group.
“We came to know from the communication intercepts that there were three militants who were getting instructions from Afghanistan,” Afgun told media
According to aÂ recruit who witnessed the entire incident, theÂ militants had barged into the training centre and opened indiscriminate fire. “Then, they entered into the barracks,” he said. The militants’ faces were covered.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had initially said that five to six terrorists had stormed the police training centre. However, later Home Minister Balochistan revealed that three terrorists had carried out the attack.
Those injured in the attack were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta and the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), sources said. They included recruits, who attempted to flee the centre as terrorists waged the attack.Â Meanwhile, emergency has been imposed in the hospitals across the provincial capital.
Roads leading to the Quetta Civil Hospital have been blocked for traffic. Shops in the locality have been closed for business.
Balochistan CM claims security was on high alertÂ
According toÂ Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri, there were prior intelligence reports of an attack and security had beenÂ on high alert.Â Due to high security across the provincial capital, these terrorists had opted for an attack on the police college in a suburban area, he added.
Praising the security forces, he said that the Pakistan Army and police worked together smoothly. “Security agencies fought valiantly. Those martyred in the attack are our heroes.”
“Will get to the bottom of this,” he added.
Prime MinisterÂ chairs high-level meeting
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation following the attack. The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and other officials.
The meeting wasÂ attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and National Security Advisor Lt Gen (rtd) Nasir Janjua.
In the meeting, the law and order situation of the city and the recent attack on police training facility were discussed.
Earlier upon his arrival in Quetta, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the Civil Hospital where those injured in the attack were being treated. During the prime minister’s visit, the Army chief was also present at the hospital.
The prime minister was accompanied by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri, and other officials.
Late Monday night, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack on Police Training Centre and instructed authorities to ensure safety of police recruits.
According to a press statement, PM Nawaz expressed concern over the attack and directed the federal and provincial security agencies to bring the perpetrators to task.