Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Web Desk

'Not a terror act': Initial inquiry blames short circuit for CTD police station blasts

Police report says no evidence of an attack from outside has been found; death toll rises to 17

Web Desk
Security personnel gather at the site after multiple explosions caused by a fire in a munitions cache in a police station in Kabal, in the Swat Valley, on April 24, 2023. — AFP
Security personnel gather at the site after multiple explosions caused by a fire in a munitions cache in a police station in Kabal, in the Swat Valley, on April 24, 2023. — AFP

  • Police report says no evidence of attack from outside found.
  • More than 50 people were injured and least 17 people were killed.
  • Explosions did not appear to be suicide attack, CTD DIG says.

SWAT: An initial investigation conducted by the police suggests that the primary reason behind the two explosions at a Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) police station in Swat was a short circuit in the ammunition depot. 

“No evidence of an attack from outside has been found,” the police claimed in the preliminary investigation report prepared after the blast rocked CTD police station in Swat's Kabal a day earlier.

The police confirmed that at least 17 people were killed and more than 50 people were injured due to the explosion and are currently under treatment.

“There is a high possibility that the blast was caused by a short circuit as fire erupted in the armoury [a place where weapons are kept],” the police report stated.

CTD DIG Khalid Sohail, while speaking to media persons, said that ammunition caught fire due to negligence. He revealed that the incident took place in the old office of the CTD.

He also ruled out the possibility that the explosions were suicide attacks or other acts of terrorism.

"There was a store where we had a huge quantity of weapons, and until now we believe that there might have been some blast in it due to some carelessness," he said.

Sohail said the shock waves caused "the complete collapse of the building".

Meanwhile, the work of removing the debris is underway as nearby buildings, including mosques, houses, school walls and roofs also collapsed due to the explosion.

Among those killed, three were civilians, five were prisoners, and nine were policemen. The hospital administration said that 10 out of the 51 people injured are in critical condition.

Sources within the police said that a two-member committee had been formed to investigate the munitions blasts at the CTD police station. The body includes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home Secretary Abid Majeed and the Special Branch deputy inspector general.

Sources said that the committee has been directed to submit a report by completing the probe as soon as possible.

Following the blast, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Inspector General Akhtar Hayat Gandapur said: "A series of two to three bomb explosions occurred. He added that "the majority of the victims" were policemen.

Footage from the site showed a body being stretchered from the rubble as a smattering of small fires blazed in the darkness.

On Twitter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif initially described Monday’s blasts as a "suicide attack".

"Our police has been the first line of defence against terrorism," he tweeted.

Late at night, he tweeted an update saying "The nature of the blast is being investigated".

In January, a suicide bomber detonated his vest in a mosque inside a police compound in Peshawar, killing more than 80 officers as the building collapsed and rained down rubble on worshippers.

The following month, five were killed when a suicide squad stormed a police compound in the southern port city of Karachi, prompting an hours-long shootout.

The country, which is home to over 220 million people, has witnessed a dramatic uptick in attacks since late last year.

— Additional input from AFP