Pakistan food aid programme halted after suicide attack

Monday, December 27, 2010

WASHINGTON - A UN agency has temporarily shutdown its food aid programme in Pakistan’s restive tribal region after a suicide bomb attack on one of its posts killed 46 people.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the World Food Program (WFP), which has four ration distribution centres in Bajaur tribal region to feed up to 41,000 families a month, has stopped its operations.

“Our staff will resume its work as soon as the situation normalises,” said Amjad Jamal, spokesman for the WFP.

On Saturday, nearly 300 people had gathered to receive rations outside the post in Khar, Bajaur’s main town, when a burqa-clad woman lobbed two hand grenades toward the crowd before blowing herself up, reports said.

The dead included women and children. The blast wounded 76 people, some critically.

The Pakistan Taliban is reported to have claimed responsibility. The bomber hasn’t been identified, the report said.

“After the big explosion, we rushed to the spot and saw people screaming from wounds, and some were crying for help,” said Abdul Ahmad Khan, an eyewitness to the attack.

“There was blood and human body parts everywhere, and thick black smoke covered the whole area.”

No personnel of the WFP, a UN agency that distributes emergency food aid, were hurt in the attack, said Ishrat Rizvi, a spokeswoman for the UN in Islamabad.

“We condemn this barbaric act in strongest possible words. The WFP has been working to feed the poor and hungry displaced persons who were gathered at the food distribution centre,” the Wall Street Journal qouted Rizvi as saying.

Filed under: Terrorism

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