Pak: Chechens died of bullet wounds, says autopsy report

Five Chechen terror suspects were killed by Pak security forces in Quetta.

Updated: May 21, 2011, 16:15 PM IST

Islamabad: An autopsy of five Chechen terror suspects, who were killed by Pakistani security forces in Quetta, has revealed they died from "multiple bullet wounds", contradicting claims by officials that they died because of an explosion.

Pakistani authorities have ordered two separate probes into the killing of the Chechens after a spate of media reports said they were unarmed and highlighted inconsistencies in statements by security officials.

The Chechens - three women and two men - were killed on Tuesday and officials had claimed they were suicide bombers linked to al Qaeda.

Police surgeon Baqir Shah, who conducted the 11-hour autopsy with other doctors yesterday, told the media that 21 bullets were extracted from the bodies.

"They died of multiple bullet wounds," he told reporters. Traces of splinters were found in four of the five bodies though it was not clear if these splinters were from a bomb or a grenade, Shah said.

One of the Chechen women, in her late twenties, was seven months pregnant and was hit by about eight to 10 bullets hit her.

Five bullets and splinters were extracted from the body of another Chechen woman while the body of the third woman bore eight bullet wounds, Shah said.

The findings of the autopsy clashed with the claim made by Quetta police chief Daud Junejo that the Chechens had died because of a bomb explosion and not in shooting by law enforcement personnel.

A member of the team that performed the autopsy told reporters that "some senior officials tried to exert pressure on us". He did not give details.

Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani yesterday ordered a judicial inquiry into the killings. Raisani changed his order for a probe to be conducted by the Chief Secretary after officials pointed out that federal government employees like senior police officers were under no obligation to appear before an inquiry set up by a provincial government.

Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the advisor to the Prime Minister on Human Rights, has ordered a separate probe into the incident by the federal Human Rights Ministry.

He told authorities to submit a report on the matter in a week.

Though officials claimed the Chechens had weapons and suicide vests, media reports and witnesses said the persons were unarmed and not carrying any explosives.

Witnesses told TV channels the persons had never returned fire when security forces began shooting at them. Footage on several TV news channels showed security personnel firing volley after volley of bullets at the persons as they lay on the ground near a checkpost made with sandbags.

One wounded woman waved her hand in the air before she died.