News

Gunmen Ambush Sri Lanka Cricket Team in Pakistan

Pakistani officials say at least six people are dead after 12 gunmen attacked the police-escorted convoy transporting the Sri Lankan cricket team. Officials report five police officers and one driver were killed and six players and their British assistant coach were wounded. Despite a city-wide search, none of the attackers has been reported killed or captured. 

Witnesses of the brazen mid-morning attack said gunmen targeted the convoy when it was about 100 meters from Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium - Pakistan's premier cricket venue.  The convoy included several vehicles carrying police and commandoes. 

Pakistani umpire Nadeem Ghori was in a vehicle traveling behind the team bus when gunfire broke out.

He says when the explosions and firing started, one bullet hit the driver and killed him instantly.  He said the rest of us just laid down on the floor. 

One vehicle ahead, the driver of the Sri Lankan team bus, Mehar Mohammed Khalil, said gunmen fired on the three lead police cars before targeting his vehicle. 

He says the police cars swerved away and then a man with a rocket launcher fired on the bus.  The rocket missed, then he says a second man threw a grenade, which also went past its target.  He says a man driving in a nearby car then got out and shot at the front of the bus.  Khalil says he continued driving toward the stadium, where police reinforcements were beginning to launch a counterattack.

Witnesses said fighting lasted for 30 minutes, before the attackers fled.  A Pakistani television network filmed three of the gunmen while the assault was underway.  The footage showed unmasked men, carrying automatic weapons and backpacks. 

In Colombo, Sri Lankan officials denounced the incident as a "cowardly terrorist attack," but refrained from blaming Pakistani authorities for having lax security.  The foreign secretary said little could have been done to stop such an attack. 

Some of the Sri Lankan players were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.  Others waited at the cricket stadium, until a Pakistani military helicopter landed on the pitch to fly them to the Lahore airport.

Sri Lankan officials say they are bringing the entire team home as soon as possible.  The Punjab governor said the attack resembled last November's terrorist attack in Mumbai, which India maintains was planned and carried out by Pakistanis.  There was some speculation the attack could have links to Sri Lanka's civil war, but analysts said it appeared unlikely.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said the perpetrators were enemies of Pakistan's "close, cordial and mutually supportive relationship" with Sri Lanka. 

The attack drew widespread media attention throughout South Asia, where cricket is a national sport.

The Sri Lankan team was standing in for India, which had withdrawn after the Mumbai attacks.  International cricket teams have been reluctant to come to Pakistan because of concerns over security - last year, Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies cancelled matches in Pakistan because of security concerns.

Indian officials responded to the attack by saying it unfortunately confirmed their fears the Indian team would not have been safe playing in Pakistan. 

An Australian cameraman who was in Lahore to film the match told Pakistani reporters the entire ordeal has damaged Pakistani cricket.

"I think it is a great pity.  I mean, Pakistan has been without cricket for 14 months.  We have been looked after very well, we have felt very safe," he said.  "It is so unfortunate for the future of Pakistan cricket because no teams are going to come here for a long time now.  It is such a shame."

Cricket watchers said it is unlikely Pakistan will participate in jointly holding the 2011 Cricket World Cup - the sport's biggest championship.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs