Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pakistan arrests six more in SLanka team attack

LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistani police said Tuesday they had arrested another six alleged plotters over the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team that cost the country its World Cup hosting rights.

Six policemen and two civilians were killed and seven Sri Lankan players injured when militants launched a gun and grenade assault on the team as they travelled to a match in the eastern city on March 3, 2009.

Lahore city police chief Aslam Tareen said the latest arrests were made in different swoops in central Punjab province, but gave no precise dates.

“We have arrested six people, they were actively involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan team. They belonged to the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan),” Tareen told a news conference on the eve of the hotly-anticipated cricket World Cup semi-final between arch rivals India and Pakistan in Mohali, India.

The arrests followed the interrogation of two other suspects, already held in connection with the attack, he said.

The detainees were presented at the news conference, their faces covered in masks, but did not speak. Police also displayed four assault rifles, one suicide vest and eight hand grenades allegedly seized from the suspects.

“They told interrogators that they belonged to TTP and the plot was hatched in the tribal Waziristan region,” Tareen said.

Their motive was to take the Sri Lankan team hostage, he said.

Up to 12 gunmen were believed to have taken part in the assault on the bus carrying the Sri Lankan players from hotel to the stadium. They all escaped.