(By Raheel Adnan; Updated Monday, 24 June 2013, 06:35:18 EDT) One Lithuanian from International Expedition, two climbers from Slovakia, three from Ukraine, three from China, one from Nepal and one from Pakistan, have been murdered during Nanga Parbat Diamir side massacre, messaged the International Expedition leader, Alexandra Dzik. Lithuanian Ernest Marksaitis was the only member of International Expedition who was at Base Camp yesterday. Alexandra confirmed his unfortunate demise.
As per television reports, more than a dozen terrorists disguised in local police uniforms, entered the Base Camp area at around 10:30 PM on Saturday and held the locals (BC staff) hostage before murdering the foreigners. As confirmed by post-mortem reports, all climbers have been killed by bullets in their heads and other parts of the body. The terrorists also took the money from locals and documents of foreign members with them. It’s reported that they left BC after midnight, leaving the locals tied up in ropes.
Police received the call about the incident on Sunday morning. Since the Base Camp is located at a remote location, accessible after 2-3 days of trekking, the Pakistan Army was called in to facilitate the operation with helicopters. The area was sealed off, but unfortunately the terrorists haven’t been located yet.
As per Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman, the assault was carried out by its sub group, Jund-ul Hifsa. The attack was condemned by top officials, including President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan’s National Assembly also passed a resolution condemning the incident.
Officials are reporting it as the first incident of such an attack. This indeed is the first attack on altitude climbers but it can be linked with several incidents from the past. Last year, more than 20 bus passengers were killed by Taliban in an adjacent valley, near Babusar Pass. The terrorists used military uniforms in that incident. Also, there were many cases of armed looting of trekkers and campers at nearby locations (looting style appeared more like Taliban groups). Last year’s events indicated strong presence of Taliban and other criminals in the region. It was the government’s responsibility to ensure security of climbing teams.
The dead bodies of the victims retrieved from Diamir BC were removed to Gilgit via helicopter and were later taken to Islamabad via C130 planes, whereas remaining climbers are being escorted by Army and Police officials. Security officials have closed the whole Nanga Parbat region looking for the terrorists. Base Camp is also secured by army soldiers.
As of now, different teams are heading back to Islamabad.
- Pawel Michalski and Simone La Terra have cancelled the expedition and didn't fly to Islamabad. They are currently in Europe. (Update: Previously it was said that Pawel and Simone are on the way back to Islamabad from mountain).
- Team of Tunc Findik and Mehdi Gholipour was hoping to be out of BC today.
- Polish Nanga Parbat Experience 2013 team is also returning to Islamabad.
- Ukrainian team’s remaining members are supposed to be evacuated today, by evening.
- International Expedition will be evacuated tomorrow morning.
- As of now it’s not known whether remaining Chinese and Nepali climbers have been evacuated or not.
- Pakistani climbers Karim Hayyat, Naseer Uddin and Sher Khan are still in the BC.
The Romanian team on Rupal face reached C2 (6100m) yesterday and was supposed to continue fixing rope to 7000m today. As per this morning’s post, they seemed determined to continue the climb, although they were remotely aware of the attack on foreigners in Nanga Parbat region.
Based in Lahore, Pakistan telecom engineer and mountaineering enthusiast Raheel Adnan is a reporter for ExplorersWeb's mountaineering sections. He shares regular updates on Twitter and runs his own blog at AltitudePakistan posting initiated climbing news from Himalaya and Karakoram.
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