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Pakistan army chief honors Christian colony guards

Church leaders thank military for rewarding men who helped save others from terrorists

ucanews.com reporter, Karachi

ucanews.com reporter, Karachi

Published: October 04, 2016 10:55 AM GMT

Updated: October 04, 2016 11:02 AM GMT

Pakistan army chief honors Christian colony guards

Pakistani soldiers escort ambulances carrying the bodies of suicide bombers following an attack in a Christian colony on the outskirts of Peshawar on Sept. 2. (Photo by AFP) 

Church leaders have thanked Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif for honoring the guards who helped foil a Taliban attack on a Christian colony.

One Christian man was killed when four Taliban bombers stormed the colony in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on Sept. 2.

The assault was initially resisted by two security guards before Pakistan army troops arrived and killed all four attackers. A Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Sept. 29, Pakistan army chief spokesman Lt-Gen. Asim Bajwa told media that other militants involved in the attack had been apprehended.

Last week, Army Chief of Staff General Raheel Sharif presented a cash reward of 1 million rupees (about US$10,000) and a souvenir each to the two security personnel in recognition of their bravery.

The two guards Security Sergeant Khaud Ali Khan and Security Guard Najeem Ali Khan, were employees of Water and Power Development Authority, whose Chairman Lt-Gen. Muzammil Hussain (retd.), in a statement, expressed gratitude to the Army Chief of Staff for honoring them.

He also appreciated the efforts being made by Pakistan's army to weed-out the menace of terrorism.

The two security personnel were the first to encounter the terrorists at the colony gate. They kept the assailants engaged until other security agencies arrived.

Anglican Bishop Earnest Jacob appreciated Sharif for taking a "personal interest" in honoring the two.

"We thank the Chief of Army Staff for honoring those who played an important role in protecting the Christian families," he said. "Muslim security guards exchanged fire and blocked the suicide bombers for 40 minutes which gave the army enough time to reach there. We prayed for them in the Sunday service."

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"It is a miracle that four suicide bombers killed only one person. Usually when terrorists attack, the guards flee to save their lives. The reward will encourage people on duty," he said.

Samuel Masih, 50, a Catholic sanitation worker, was killed and four houses were damaged in the attack. Bishop Jacob conducted Masih's funeral two days later.

Bishop Jacob also asked for financial aid for the affected Christian families.

"There is still no financial compensation for the widow or families whose households and vehicles were damaged. We have filed applications to the provincial government and are still waiting," he said.

The bishop appreciated security measures in the aftermath of the deadly attack.

"Police pickets have now been established at the pastor's house and the roof of St. Peter's Church, both located in the Christian colony. The number of security guards at the entrance has also increased from four to seven," he told ucanews.com.

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