Quetta: Police claim arresting 11 children used by terrorists
QUETTA: Police claimed on Wednesday to have arrested, after a brief encounter, 11 children who were allegedly lured and used by militants of an outlawed Baloch organisation to plant bombs and trigger blasts at various places in the provincial capital. The chief of Quetta police, Captain (retd) Mir Zubair Mehmood, accompanied by DIG Investigation Mobin, told journalists at a press conference that police, on a tip-off that militants of a little-known outfit, the United Baloch Army, headed by Abdul Nabi Bangulzai, raided the Kalli Khli Angoori Bagh area.
The raid triggered an armed encounter with members of the organisation. The leader of the organisation escaped along with other militants during the exchange of fire, leaving the children at the place.
“We have taken 11 children into custody and they are under interrogation,” CCPO Zubair Mehmood said. The arrested children were present during the news conference.
“Their ages are between 10 and 17 years,” he said, adding that one of them is the son of a serving police officer.
He said that during initial interrogation, the arrested children disclosed how they were being used by the banned outfit to plant bombs and explosives at various places in and around Quetta.
“All these teenagers are innocent and belong to poor families and they were being used by members of the outlawed organisation for their nefarious designs,” he claimed, adding that the children were being paid Rs2,000 to Rs5,000 for planting and exploding bombs.
He said children had admitted during an initial investigation that they were used for carrying explosives and bombs and conducting blasts at crowded places, including the Bacha Khan Chowk. He said they had also admitted to their involvement in at least eight cases of bomb blasts and grenade attacks in Quetta and on outskirts of the provincial capital. Mr Mehmood said that police also seized anti–personnel mines, detonators, 10kg of explosives, four rockets of 107mm, chemicals, safety fuses, two hand grenades and ammunition from the area. He said that it was a matter of great concern that the outlawed organisation was using innocent children to achieve its evil designs.
One of the children, Mohammad Sabir, told journalists that he, along with some others, planted a bomb on Jan 10 this year at the Bacha Khan Chowk. The bomb killed 10 civilians and two soldiers of the Frontier Corps, besides inuring 67 civilians.
The CCPO said that police were making arrangements to ensure these juvenile did not turn into hardened criminals.
“We are investigating all acts of terror in the province, including two massive bomb blasts which took place in Quetta recently and have found an important lead to reach those involved in these acts of terror,” Mr Mehmood said.
He said that in order to improve law and order situation in Quetta, Rs500 million had already been earmarked for the installation of CCTV cameras and other equipment for technical surveillance.
In reply to a question, he said the government had approved recruitment of over 1,000 policemen for Quetta police.
The children were identified as Munir Ahmed, Muhammad Azim, Muhammad Shoaib, Aamir Khan, Javed Ahmed, Muhammad Sabir, Faisal, Niaz Muhammad, Baryali, Babar Ali and Abdul Shakoor.