A burqa-clad Baloch woman suicide bomber struck a van inside the University of Karachi, killing three Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver, in the latest targeted attack against Chinese citizens in the country’s financial capital.
The banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) linked Majeed Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack on the teachers that took place near China-built Confucius Institute – a non-profit institute teaching the Chinese language to local pupils – in the university. It said the attack was carried out by a woman suicide bomber.
A spokesperson for the university said that three of the victims were Chinese nationals. They were identified as Confucius Institute Director Huang Guiping, Ding Mupeng, Chen Sa and Khalid, the Pakistani driver, reported news agency PTI.
The spokesperson added that two others, including Chinese national Wang Yuqing, and Hamid were injured in the blast.
What we know about the suicide bomber:
The BLA statement that followed the attack identified the bomber as Shari Baloch or Bramsh, saying she was the group’s first female bomber. The attack marks “a new chapter in the history of Baloch resistance,” the statement said.
CCTV footage of the attack showed a burqa-clad woman standing outside the entrance of the Confucius Institute. The woman detonated herself just as the van neared the institute’s entrance. The police was yet to verify the footage.
News agency Reuters reported that the BLA, in an email, shared a photo of the woman clad in a long shawl sitting with two children. The photo couldn’t be verified independently by police or other officials.
The picture of the bomber along with the two kids is also circulating on the social media.
Local media reported that the bomber had been a student at the university.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Geo News TV that “the information we have got is that the female bomber was most probably a student at the university”.
The Express Tribune reported that the attacker was a female MPhil student, who said goodbyes to her friends on Twitter at 12.10pm.
In a purported video issued by the group, a BLA spokesman said the motive of the attack was very clear.
He warned that a special unit has been formed particularly to attack Chinese officials and installations in Balochistan.
The group opposes Chinese investment in Pakistan, especially in the restive Balochistan, saying local people do not benefit.
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The BLA has targeted Chinese nationals in attacks in the past. Balochistan has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency by armed Baloch groups demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region’s natural resources if not outright independence from Islamabad.
This is the first major attack on Chinese nationals in Pakistan since the bombing of a bus at Dasu in the northwest in July 2021 that killed nine Chinese nationals. However, that attack wasn’t claimed by the Baloch militants. The Pakistani Taliban — also known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan — had claimed responsibility for the attack. Four Pakistanis had also died in that attack.
(With inputs from agencies)
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