Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pakistani Cadets Ran, Jumped from Windows to Flee Militants

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pakistani Cadets Ran, Jumped from Windows to Flee Militants

Article excerpt

QUETTA, Pakistan * Survivors of an overnight attack that killed 61 people at a Pakistani police academy described chaotic scenes of gunfire and explosions, with militants shooting anyone they saw and cadets running for their lives and jumping from windows and rooftops.

A Taliban splinter group and an Islamic State affiliate made competing claims of responsibility for the four-hour siege late Monday at the Police Training College on the outskirts of the city of Quetta.

Most of the dead and the 123 wounded were recruits and cadets, said Wasay Khan, a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps. Of the three militants who carried out the attack, two blew themselves up with explosive vests and the third was killed by gunfire, he added.

As the nation reeled and sought to understand how militants were able to carry out such violence, many Pakistanis were reminded of a 2014 attack by the Taliban on an army-run school in Peshawar in which more than 150 people, most of them children, were killed.

Broadcasters showed on Tuesday the aftermath of the attack on the Quetta academy: scorched windows and floors littered with the shoes of the dead and wounded.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif rushed to the scene to meet with survivors, who spoke of the horrors of the surprise attack on about 700 cadets, trainees, instructors and other staff that began about 11:30 p.m.

Cadet Asif Hussain said he had been asleep when gunshots broke out.

"We hid ourselves beneath cots. We had in our mind that if we didn't lock ourselves inside the hall, they will kill us," he said.

The attackers kicked at the door but failed to open it, Hussain said. The gunmen instead fired on them from a window, wounding two cadets before moving to a nearby dorm.

Shortly after entering, one of the attackers detonated his vest inside a hall after firing at cadets. …

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