Nine police trainees have been shot dead in their sleep in Pakistan's Punjab province. It’s the second such attack in four days.
Gunmen shot dead at least nine trainees in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, the second deadly attack in the relatively peaceful region of Punjab in four days.
At least half a dozen gunmen armed with Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades stormed a compound housing the trainees. The gunmen arrived on motorcycles, firing indiscriminately on the trainees while they slept, according to Punjab police chief Habibur Rehman.
Rehman told the Associated Press that the police trainees were recruited primarily from Pakistan's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.
Islamist militants are known to be highly active in the northwestern provinces. But since 2010 Punjab province, Pakistan's most populous region, has been largely spared the violence common along the Afghan border. Punjab is located in Pakistan's east close to India.
Reuters news agency has reported that the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Lahore. Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told Reuters that the trainees were targeted in retaliation for the way they treat detainees at the border.
"We were looking for them for a long time as their attitude with our people in jails is very inhumane and insulting," Ehsan said by telephone from an undisclosed location.
On Monday, gunmen killed six soldiers and a policeman at a military encampment north of Lahore.
slk/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)