, CHARSADDA, Pakistan, Jan 20 – At least 21 people died in an armed assault on a university in Pakistan Wednesday, where witnesses reported two large explosions as security forces moved in under dense fog to halt the bloodshed.
The number of dead rose rapidly after armed men stormed the Bacha Khan university in Charsadda, about 50 kilometres from the city of Peshawar, in the latest outrage to hit the militant-infested region.
Police, soldiers and special forces swarmed the university from the ground and the air in a bid to shut down the assault, as television images showed female students running for their lives.
“The death toll in the terrorist attack has risen to 21,” regional police chief Saeed Wazir told AFP hours after the alarm was first raised.
He said the operation had ended and security forces were clearing the area, with most of the student victims shot dead at a hostel for boys on the campus.
“More than 30 others including students, staff and security guards were wounded,” he added.
Emergency official Bilal Faizi described seeing five bodies, all with bullet wounds.
Military spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa said on Twitter that four attackers had been killed.
“Update: Snipers killed 2 more terrorists on roof top, total Terrorist killed so far 4. All buildings (and) roof top taken over by Army. op continues,” he wrote earlier.
It was not immediately clear if the four were included in the toll of 12 given by police chief Wazir.