Pakistan school attack: Student played dead to save his life
As terrorists roamed about the auditorium looking for survivors, the 16-year-old student, shot in both legs, stuffed his school tie into his mouth to muffle his screams and played dead
Peshawar: A teenage survivor of yesterday’s Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar described how he played dead after being shot in both legs by insurgents who were hunting down and killing students.
Seven armed terrorists entered the army-run school on Warsak Road in Peshawar by scaling a wall from a nearby graveyard. The terrorists entered the school through the canteen
Militants rampaged through the army-run school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital and killed at least 130 people, most of them children, in one of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan.
Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city’s Lady Reading Hospital, 16-year-old Salman said he and his classmates were in a career-guidance session in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms burst in.
As soon as the terrorists entered the school premises, they headed towards the corridor leading to the classrooms and opened fire, killing several students, teachers and attendants.
“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire. “Then one of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” said Salman.
“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.”
Four gunmen barged into the school auditorium where students were attending a careers-guidance session. The students ducked under the benches for cover, but the militants dragged students out and shot them. Illustration/Amit Bandre
Salman said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee. He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream.
The man with big boots kept looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again,” he said.
“I was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me. I felt as though it was death that was approaching me,” Salman added further.
The Army Public School is attended by boys and girls from both military and civilian backgrounds.
As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Salman recalled: “The men left after some time and I stayed there for a few minutes. Then I tried to get up but fell to the ground because of my wounds. When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire,” he said.
“She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned,” Salman added.
Salman, who said he also saw the body of a soldier who worked at the school, crawled behind a door to hide and then lost consciousness.
“When I woke up I was lying on the hospital bed,” he added.