`350 suicide bombers receiving training in North Waziristan`
Last Updated: Friday, April 08, 2011, 23:18
  
Islamabad: A teenage would-be suicide bomber who was arrested when he tried to blow himself up at a revered Sufi shrine in Pakistan's Punjab province on Friday claimed that up to 350 suicide bombers were being trained in Taliban-run camps in North Waziristan tribal region.

Umar Fidai, aged 14 or 15 years, was arrested during a suicide attack on Sakhi Sarwar shrine near Dera Ghazi Khan on April 3 that killed 50 people.

Umar was seriously injured by an explosion while his colleague Ismail carried out the attack by detonating his explosive vest.

In interviews to several TV news channels, Umar claimed up to 350 suicide bombers were being trained in the Mir Ali region of North Waziristan Agency.

He said Arabs, Uzbeks and Tajiks are among the militants active in the region.

Despite tremendous pressure from the US, Pakistan has so far refused to move troops into North Waziristan to flush out Taliban militants.

It has contended that its troops are conducting operations in several areas and cannot launch a fresh offensive in North Waziristan.

Umar, who claimed he was a Class 10 student, said his mission was to strike the Sakhi Sarwar shrine half an hour after the first attack so that people gathered at the site could be targeted.

"I was studying in Esa Khel area of North Waziristan.

Once when I was going home from school, Qari Zafar, who was in-charge of the Taliban suicide squad, met me and told me that there is no benefit in schooling. I was told that children who carry out fidai (martyrdom) attacks will go to paradise," Umar told the media at a hospital in Dera Ghazi Khan, where he is being treated.

Umar said Qari Zafar had convinced him to join a training centre so that he could carry out a 'fidai' attack and go to 'jannat' (paradise).

"I joined the training center in North Waziristan and stayed there for five to six months. Two other children Naeemullah and Ismail were also there," he said.

He claimed he was told the boys would go to Afghanistan to carry attack as the militants did not strike within Pakistan.

"But they brought me to Dera Ghazi Khan. I told Naeemullah that this is Pakistan but he said these people are worse than Americans as they bow to human beings in shrines," he said.

"I refused to carry out attack. But they told me that the people at the shrine are infidels and we will hit them. Ismail carried out the attack. Naeemullah left before the attack. I tried to blow myself up after half an hour but it did not happen," he added.

Umar apologized to the people, saying he had realized that he made a mistake by joining an attack that resulted in the death of Muslims.

"I am ashamed. Allah has given me a new life and I will not do it again. I will go back my home and will learn. Suicide attacks are contrary to Islam, which teaches us unity," he said.

He claimed a commander known as Mullah Sangin Khan was the chief of the camp where he trained.

Khan was from Afghanistan and is associated with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, he said.

PTI


First Published: Friday, April 08, 2011, 23:18


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