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Pak troops bombard madrassa, kill 80 

The madrassa was believed to be an al-Qaeda training center. Locals say they were students.

October 31, 2006

Eighty people were killed when Pakistan armymen raided a religious school in Chingai, believed to be used as an al-Qaeda training center. This is perhaps the country’s deadliest strike ever against suspected Islamic militants, said reports. The raids backed by missile-laden helicopters happened before dawn, killing students and teachers. 

Helicopter gunships bombarded the madrassa with missiles which had up to 80 people inside. The blasts tore apart the building and all inside, spraying body parts, blood and debris across a wide area. 

Only three people are believed to have survived. These militants were suspected to have been involved in actions inside Pakistan and probably in Afghanistan. 

Militans were allegedly using madrassas a front to train militants. The Pakistani troops launched the attack after those in charge of the building refused warnings by the military during the past few weeks to close it down, it is learnt. 

The attacks have however put the peace initiatives between government officials and leaders in this tribal region, which has long been a hive of militant activity opposed to Pakistani troops in the area and US forces in Afghanistan, under threat.

The attacks meanwhile have triggered widespread protests. Several hours after the attack, thousands of enraged locals attended three mass funerals held one after the other in a field near the madrassa. People took over the main streets through shouting slogans like “Death to Musharraf, Death to Bush.” 

Going by the magnitude of the protests, it is feared that the latest killings might prove to be a headache for the Pak administration for some time to come.


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