Reinforcements reach Aibak after violent protest
MAZAR-I-Sharif (PAN): Two protestors were killed and more than a dozen others wounded during a clash with police in Aibak, the capital of northern Samangan province, officials said. The injured include five policemen.
The incident happened at 8am when armed supporters of Senator Asif attacked the governor’s office. Governor Khairullah Batash told Pajhwok Afghan News the protestors were trying to stop him entering his office.
But security forces helped him reach his office to meet a delegation that came from Kabul to probe recent demonstrations in the province, Batash said, adding around 20 armed supporter of Asif opened fire at his office around 11 am.
Police fired in the air, but two protestors were killed and eight others wounded by the senator’s supporters, he alleged. “They want to make a political issue out of it and create problems for me.”
Confirming the governor’s view, Samangan police chief Gen. Mohammad Aslam Bekzad said they sprayed water at the protestors before firing in the air. The casualties resulted from gunfire by Asif’s supporters, he added.
He said the legislator was accused of killing two tribal elders, assassinating former MP Ahmad Samangani and planting a landmine targetting the governor. Asif has also been removed from the provincial council contenders’ list by the election commission.
According to Bekzad, he has received arrest warrants for Asif from the Attorney General Office. He said reinforcements had arrived from Balkh province to deal with possible threats, including to the police headquarters.
But Ziauddin Zia, the provincial council head, claimed the governor’s bodyguards and police had inflicted casualties on protesters. The protest was peaceful but police opened fire, he said, adding the governor was involved in administrative and moral corruption.
He put the toll at three protestors dead and 10 injured, claiming to have received a video clip of policemen firing at demonstrators. The public representative vowed to hold the government responsible for the casualties.
Intelligence officer Naik Mohammad said the protest erupted at 10am and ended at 12 noon. The wounded protesters were rushed to hospital by police, he added.
Aibak Civil Hospital Director Abdul Hamid confirmed receiving seven injured people from the site, a number of them in critical condition.
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