RAWALPINDI: The Balochistan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has arrested two facilitators of last year’s Quetta Church suicide bombing, it emerged on Tuesday.
Nine people were killed and 30 injured in the suicide attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road on Dec 17, 2017.
Sources said that Balochistan police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari informed the federal government and the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) about the arrest of the two facilitators in a recent briefing in Islamabad.
Talking to Dawn, a senior police official said all the handlers of the Church bombing had been arrested by the CTD a few days ago and they were currently under investigation.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that the two suicide bombers who attacked the church were foreigners as they could not be identified or matched with any records from the National Database and Registration Authority.
The sources said that the police had been receiving intelligence for the last one year about a militant group planning attacks on two main churches in Quetta — the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church at Zarghoon Road and the Spinney Road Church.
They said that following the arrest of Saeed Ahmed Badini alias Taqwa, the alleged Quetta head of the militant Islamic State group (IS) and mastermind of militant attacks in the city, police came to know about a female suicide bomber who had been sent to Quetta from Afghanistan to target the Bethel memorial church last year but due to new security measures, she could not carry out the attack and was sent back across the border.
The Balochistan police chief also conveyed to the federal government and Nacta their concerns over the targeted killings and attacks on the personnel of law enforcement agencies.
He also informed the federal government that most of the culprits involved in targeted killings had “revolutionary mentality to destabilise the country”.
He added that two local leaders, who frequently crossed the Pak-Afghan border, were the main source of their provocation.
The provincial government requested the federal government to expedite the extradition of heads of Baloch insurgent groups abroad.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2018