16 killed, 44 injured in Paktika playground blast
SHARANA (Pajhwok): Sixteen people were killed and another 44 wounded in Sunday’s bomb explosion that ripped through a huge crowd watching a volleyball match in southeastern Paktika province, residents and officials said on Monday.
Eyewitnesses said the blast took place when final match of the volleyball tournament was underway in Segana area of Khairkot district on Sunday afternoon.
Volleyball player, Abdullah, who was wounded in the blast, told Pajhwok Afghan News from his hospital bed in Sharana, the provincial capital, that they were playing their final match watched by a large number of people.
“It were last minutes of the game when a man stopped a motorcycle beside the spectators and left,” he said, adding that few minutes later, the bomb-rigged bike exploded, causing casualties to dozens of people.
Abdullah said children were among the spectators and some of them had also suffered casualties in the blast.
A tribal elder, Allahdad who was visiting injured people in the civil hospital, said he himself helped transfer bodies of 16 people from the scene.
He said 44 other people were injured and most of them were shifted by helicopters to hospitals in Kabul.
An official at the civil hospital, wishing anonymity, said they had received only five injured people and their condition was stable.
Shehzad, who was slightly injured in the blast, said it was a remotely-controlled blast caused by explosives planted on a motorcycle. The bomb exploded after more people joined the spectators, he said. He put the death toll at 16, a majority of them children.
A security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said one intelligence official was killed and another three wounded in the blast.
However, a former member of the provincial council, Abdul Ghani Paktin, said 20 people had been killed and 60 others wounded in the incident.
The Ministry of Interior said nine civilians had been killed and 33 more wounded in the bomb blast.
Paktika Governor Aminullah Shariq accompanied by local officials, traveled to Khairkot district and visited the incident area, according to a statement from the governor’s house.
The statement said a child was among 10 people killed and 33 more people including nine children were injured in the incident. The officials also visited the injured people.
The Taliban have denied involvement in the attack. A similar attack last year in the Yahyakhel district at a volleyball match killed 45 people and wounded at least 50 more.
Also on Sunday, there was another suicide attack in Yahyakhel district targeting the town’s administrative chief, but information about casualties could not be ascertained.
The Sunday’s blast took place in Segana village of Khairkot district, about two kilometers from Yahyakhel.
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