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Landi Kotal residents mourn 27 deaths
June 16 bomb also wounded 56
By Javed Aziz Khan
LANDI KOTAL – Landi Kotal residents are mourning the loss of 27 lives in a car bombing in the main bazaar June 16.
Market traders June 17 observed a complete shutdown while locals hoisted black flags over their houses to protest the bombing, which also wounded 56. The dead included 14 tribesmen from Landi Kotal, the most peaceful of the three Khyber Agency sub-divisions.
“The blast is one of the most tragic incidents in Landi Kotal,” said Hakim Khan, a resident of Landi Kotal. The public is still in shock and most trade centres remain closed, he said.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masud Kausar visited survivors at the Hayatabad Medical Complex and ordered doctors to render all aid to them.
Kausar condemned the blast, saying the government would continue action against the terrorists and that such acts will not shake the government’s resolve.
Compensation and funerals
The political administration has announced temporary compensation of Rs. 50,000 (US $530) for heirs of those killed and Rs. 10,000 ($110) for the injured.
Meanwhile, mourners buried 14 of the locals killed. Authorities sent other bodies to Peshawar, Charsadda, Pakistani-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, and Afghanistan.
The blast targeted the pro-government Zakhakhel tribe, which has endured several attacks in the past few months, media reported.
Evidence from the scene suggests terrorists planted the explosives in a passenger vehicle to target the tribe, Bomb Disposal Unit personnel said. The explosion also caused a gas cylinder in a nearby shop to explode, causing a fire. The blast and inferno destroyed several shops and damaged others.
“This is inhuman,” said local trader Hayatullah Shinwari, still in shock. “You can never describe the horrible scenes.”
In a January attack on pro-government tribesmen from Khyber Agency, a bomb at the Jamrud bus stand killed more than 35 people and wounded 72 others. Terrorists planted the bomb in a vehicle. It exploded after passengers had boarded a nearby vehicle.
Landi Kotal has been more peaceful than Bara and Jamrud, the two other Khyber sub-divisions, where militant groups are clashing with each other and with the government. The Landi Kotal population has avoided associations with militant groups.