5 killed as Helmand protest turns violent
LASHKARGAH (PAN): At least five protestors were killed and seven others, including two policemen, injured after a demonstration against alleged insult to the Quran turned violent in the Musa Qala district of southern Helmand province on Wednesday.
The initially peaceful rally in the district's centre turned violent when some gun-wielding demonstrators opened fire at police, injuring two of them, said the governor's spokesman, Ahmad Zirak. Police fired in self-defence, killing five people and injuring as many others, he added.
Zirak claimed "miscreants" hijacked the protest and opened fire at police to create violence. The policeman accused of insulting the holy book a day earlier had been arrested and was being interrogated, the gubernatorial spokesman said.
The official said the desecration was a plot and that the ensuing violence was part of that conspiracy, something he blamed on the insurgents.
The protest had ended and the situation was under control, Zirak claimed. Some reports put at 20 the number of people killed and wounded in the incident. There has been no word yet from the Taliban.
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