Five killed in attack on NGO office in Mansehra
MANSEHRA: Five workers of an NGO were killed while ten others sustained serious injuries in an attack by militants here on Monday afternoon. The dead included two women workers of the non-government organisation, Plan International, Police officials and the injured told The News.
According to eyewitnesses, around 10 bearded gunmen after overpowering the security guard forcibly entered the building where the office was located, and took the NGO personnel hostage. The assailants, they said, opened fire on the personnel present there and then hurled a hand grenade on the office while leaving the site.
This caused fire and destroyed all the relief goods dumped there. Five vehicles parked on the premises of the NGO office were also damaged. Among the have three have been identified as Rukhsana, Saqib and Zaheer Shah, while the bodies of the two workers were burnt beyond recognition. Those who were seriously injured included Syed Saghir Shah, Faresh Bibi, Arshad, Mohammad Yousuf, Javed, Abdur Rahman, Syed Wali Shah, Sultan and Alamzeb. One of the injured, Syed Saghir Shah, said the armed men sprayed bullets on his colleagues, standing in a row, and killed five of them on the spot.
He said 23 people were present in the office at the time of the attack, adding that majority of them were seriously injured as the assailants wanted to burn them to death. He said the people in the neighbourhood rushed to the spot and helped extinguish the fire, besides shifting the injured to hospital.
A senior police official said the police chased the assailants and besieged them near Mansehra. Fighting between police and suspected militants continued till the filing this report. The NGO office has been set up at a bungalow in Mansehra city. Like several other NGOs, the Plan International has also been contributing to relief activities for the victims of the October 2005 earthquake in Mansehra.
The NGO was actively distributing relief goods, including food items, blankets and utensils, among the earthquake victims. However, the NGO had to shift its head office to Islamabad when several NGOs received threatening letters from suspected militants, who objected to involvement of women in relief activities.
Source: The News