Pakistan: at least five dead in a suicide attack against a church

News 17 December, 2017
  • AFP


    Sunday, December 17, 2017 04:38

    Sunday, December 17, 2017 04:38

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    QUETTA, Pakistan | At least five people were killed and 21 injured Sunday when a suicide attack was committed against a church in south-west Pakistan in a few days of Christmas, announced the police.

    The attack was perpetrated by two suicide bombers against the methodist Church of Quetta, the capital of the very volatile province of Balochistan, at the time of the religious service on Sunday.

    The chief of the provincial police, Moazzam Jah, said to the AFP that two women were among the five dead. Five of the 21 injured were seriously wounded.

    According to the Interior minister of Balochistan, Sarfraz Bugti, the police intercepted and shot down one of the suicide bombers before they manage to enter the church. But the second assailant was able to win the main door of the building where he blew himself up.

    “The police have been prompt to react to prevent the attackers from entering the main hall and was attacked in front of” the building”, said Mr. Jah.

    In normal times, about 250 worshippers attending the Sunday service but in this period of Christmas, the attendance was greater, and 400 people were present, according to the minister of the Interior.

    “God forbid, if the terrorists had succeeded in their purposes, more than 400 precious lives would have been endangered,” said Mr Bugti on Twitter.

    On of the images released by pakistani television, one could see pews broken as well as pieces of musical instruments scattered on the ground bloody.

    Christians represent about 1.6 % of the 200 million Pakistanis. They are daily victims of discrimination in Pakistan, with muslim majority, are living in fear of accusations of blasphemy, often used wrongly against minorities to settle personal conflicts. They are restricted in the occupations the most poorly paid.

    Like other religious minorities, they are also the target of violence by islamist. In 2016, one of the worst attacks in Pakistan had 75 dead, including many children, in a park of Lahore the Easter weekend.

    This attack was claimed by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrarn, a faction of the pakistani taliban.

    Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is a province rich in natural resources but wracked by an uprising of separatist violence and the islamists.

    It is the largest of the four provinces of the country. Its seven million inhabitants have long complained of not receiving a fair share of its wealth.

    In recent years, the authorities have been campaigning for, trying to promote peace and economic development, which has significantly reduced the level of violence in the province.