Dawn : 30 dead in Pakistan military blast

Thursday, October 25, 2007

30 dead in Pakistan military blast

AFP | October 25, 2007

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Oct 25 (AFP) - A blast tore through a security forces vehicle in restive northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing 30 people and wounding dozens more, a senior security official said.

The attack in the scenic Swat valley in North West Frontier Province came just one day after Pakistan deployed more than 2,000 military troops to the area to bolster efforts to stem the rising violence, linked to pro-Taliban militants.

The truck -- carrying paramilitary soldiers and packed with ammunition -- was travelling on a road outside the valley's main city Mingora when the explosion occurred, the official said.

“Thirty people were killed in the explosion including 17 paramilitary soldiers. The damage was high because the truck was packed with ammunition,” the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Security sources said a suicide bomber had detonated his explosives near the truck, but the government said the vehicle's cargo could have triggered the explosion.

“The nature of the blast is not clear and it is being ascertained. There was ammunition in the truck which caused the damage,” interior ministry spokesman Javed Cheema told AFP.

A doctor at a local hospital said 10 bodies had been brought in so far, along with 35 wounded. “Some of the bodies are charred,” Nisar Khan said.

The truck caught fire immediately after the explosion in Nawakilli area on the outskirts of Mingora, and firefighters were struggling to contain the blaze, senior police officer Akbar Ali said.

“The fire also engulfed at least 10 nearby shops,” Ali said.