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“I saw people scattered in all directions”, at least 50 dead in an attack in Pakistan AFP SHARING
PUT À DAY
More than 50 people were killed and dozens injured on Friday in a bomb attack in Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan), against a procession commemorating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad , provincial officials told AFP.
Local authorities blamed a suicide bomber for the attack, which hit the town of Mastung, some 40 kilometers from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.
“My feet shook and I was knocked to the ground,” said Hazoor Bakhsh, 49.
“When the dust settled, I saw people scattered in all directions, some screaming, others calling for help,” he said.
“I can confirm that the toll has increased and now stands at 52 dead and more than 70 injured,” he told AFP Munir Ahmed Shaikh, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Balochistan.
Local hospitals were overwhelmed by the influx of wounded, and provincial authorities launched calls for blood donations on social networks.
A little earlier the Minister of the Interior of the province Zubair Jamali had mentioned “at least 45 dead” and “70 people injured”, to the AFP.
The explosion occurred near a mosque when the public was gathering to a procession to mark the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad.
This commemoration is accepted by the majority of Muslim currents, but some among them condemn it.
“A procession of hundreds of people left the Madina mosque and when it reached the Al Falah road, a suicide bomber targeted it,” said Abdul Razzaq Sasoli, a local administration official.
In Karachi, the Pakistani Interior Ministry confirmed an explosion caused by “terrorist elements”.
“The attack on innocent people who had come to participate in the Mawlid festival procession is a heinous act,” the ministry said in a statement.
Local hospitals were overwhelmed by the large numbers injured and provincial authorities appealed for blood donations on social media.
Every year on this date, mosques and public buildings in Pakistan are illuminated while worshipers walk in procession to the occasion of the Prophet's birthday.
In April 2006, a kamikaze attack against a Sunni procession marking the same event left at least 50 dead in the city of Karachi.
Balochistan is home to several separatist groups.
The Pakistani Taliban have indicated they are not involved in the Friday's attack.
“The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has no connection with this attack, our position on bomb attacks in public places is unequivocal,” he said. indicated the group.
Balochistan's information minister, Jan Achakzai, announced that the country would observe a three-day mourning period.
This explosion comes at a time when the country is preparing for elections next January and is undermined by a political and economic crisis. It is also suffering increasing attacks from extremist groups encouraged by the return to power of the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan since 2021.
The Pakistani army also announced on Friday that four soldiers had been killed while 'They were fighting an attempt by TTP militants to infiltrate Balochistan from Afghanistan.
Elsewhere, in the north of the country, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, four people were killed in another suicide attack, local authorities said.
Two men who tried to enter a mosque set off an explosion that caused the roof to collapse.
The men “ were intercepted at the gate and exchanges of fire ensued,” followed by an explosion, Nisar Ahmed, a police official told AFP.