At least 20 people were killed this morning during a jihadist attack on the university campus of Bacha Khan in Pakistan, attended by 3,000 students. The news comes from the Health Minister of Khyber Paktunkhwa, Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, who says also that at least 60 people have been injured. The minister has also pointed out that the death toll could rise.
A University professor, Hamid Hussain, has been identified among the dead. He lost his life while trying to defend his students from the terrorists. According to witnesses, after having ordered young people to barricade themselves in the room, he went out with a gun in his hand and faced the assailants. The other victims have not been identified yet.
The military men have killed the ” four terrorists”, according a tweet of the spokesman of the Pakistani Armed Forces, Gen. Asim Bajwa. “Snipers have killed two more terrorists. Four terrorist have been killed so far. All the buildings are in the hands of the army. The operation continues, ” – Bajwa announces.
Local media report that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pakistan’s Taliban, have claimed the attack. According to an article from The Express Tribune, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Omar Mansoor, said that the attack had been carried out by four men. The Guardian states that the Taliban claim that the attackers were suicide bombers.
The assault began shortly after 9 a.m., when students and teachers gathered for a poetry recital in honor of Bacha Khan, a peace activist after whom the university was called. This attack reminds on the December 2014 assault on a school attended by the children of military men, in the nearby Peshawar, when 140 students were killed.
About one thousand students were inside the university. One of them managed to escape and told Dunya television network that he had heard not only intense gunfire, but also explosions.
Tthis morning attack has happened after some schools had been recently closed in Peshawar due to information about the possibility of terrorist attacks. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the attack. From Switzerland, where he is attending the annual summit of the World Economic Forum, Sharif has expressed deep grief over the loss of precious human lives.
Pakistani Prime Minister has also announced that he follows the situation personally and that he is constantly informed about the measures taken against the terrorists. Asserting that those who kill innocent citizens and students do not have faith nor religion, Sharif affirmed also that “[they] are determined and resolute in [their] commitment to eradicate the threat of terrorism from [their] motherland. The countless sacrifices made by our countrymen will not be vain.”