Five Chechens killed near Quetta


Five would-be Chechen suicide bombers, including three women, were killed by security forces before they could attack a check-post in the provincial capital on Tuesday, police and Frontier Corps (FC) officials claimed. A FC man was also killed in friendly fire.
Police and FC did not show any explosives seized from the militants to the media to substantiate their claim that the killed were indeed suicide bombers. Police officials who wished to remain unnamed said five Chechen nationals carrying Russian passports with valid Iranian visa were on their way to Quetta from the border town of Chaman when police spotted them and pulled them over for searching at the Baleli check-post close to the airport.
The driver of the vehicle, a Chaman local, however sped off towards Killi Khazi in the outskirts of Quetta instead of stopping, with the police in tow. Police later caught up with the vehicle and flagged it down. “All aboard were holding their hands up for fear of police action, and were later taken to a check-post manned by FC Balochistan,” the police officials said.
The police, they said, opened fire on them, suspecting them to be suicide bombers about to detonate their explosives, killing some of them and injuring the rest. The suspects fell about close to the check-post, where the FC man inside did not react, they said. The officials claimed that some of the suspects had even lifted up their clothes to show the security personnel that they were not strapped with explosives, but reinforcements of FC and police rushed to the site and surrounded the check-post nevertheless.
They said that paramilitary officials kept telling the FC inside the post to abandon his position and save himself from the suicide bombing, but in response he kept saying the foreign nationals had no explosives on them. One of the women, who was on the ground, was seen raising her hands in a plea to the security forces to not shoot, but senior FC and police officials ordered their men to open fire.
Hundreds of rounds were fired from a distance of some 20 yards, riddling the all foreigners with bullets, but no explosion took place in the wake of the firing. The FC man inside the post was severely injured in shooting and later succumbed to his injuries at Combined Military Hospital. He was identified as Lance Naik Mohammad Sajjad.
Later, the bomb disposal squad was called in, which found nothing after sweeping the bodies of the foreigners with metal detectors. FC officer Faisal Shahzad and Capital City Police Officer Daud Junejo claimed, however, that two suicide vests were seized from the suspects, but they were not shown to the media.
Media teams also explored the vehicle of the foreigners but found nothing remotely dangerous. FC officials claimed however that 56 detonators, two kilogrammes of liquid explosive and two pins from the hand-grenade allegedly thrown at the check-post were found in the vehicle. Five Russian passports with valid Iranian visas were found from the bodies. The foreigners were believed to have entered Pakistan through conventional routes, as no entry stamp was found on their passports.
Junejo and Shahzad claimed that the so-called terrorists, who had explosives strapped to their waists, wanted to attack the check-post but were killed in pre-emptive action. Other sources said the suspected militants had parked their vehicle near a the FC check-post at Bazai Cross, Karotabad, in the outskirts of Quetta and hurled two hand-grenades at the post, which exploded without causing any damage. They said police had foiled the attack in brisk, pre-emptive action.
Junejo said police had received intelligence about a possible attack in the city, therefore checking had been increased. He said the suspected militants were aged between 20 to 25 years. Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani appreciated the security forces for taking prompt action against the suspected suicide bombers. “From the appearance of the attackers, it looks they were either Uzbek or Chechens,” a senior security official was quoted by Reuters as saying.
A police official said at least one of the attackers blew himself up before being shot. Junejo said the check-post was not the planned target of the militants and they had been traveling on the airport road. “The troops retaliated and killed all of them,” he said. “No security official was hurt, it’s all ok, it’s over now,” he said.

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