ISLAMABAD (dpa) – A militant allegedly behind a 2013 massacre of a group of Western climbers at a Himalayan mountain has escaped from a Pakistani jail, officials said on Friday.
Habib-ur-Rehman, one of the key suspects in the attack, fled the jail in northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan, local administration chief Sibtain Ahmed said.
Gunmen wearing paramilitary uniform stormed the base camp of Nanga Parbat Mountain in June 2013 and shot dead 10 mountaineers along with their Pakistani guide in an attack that drew global shock and anger.
Another inmate held on different charges also fled with Rehman, Ahmed said.
Hazrat Bilal, another suspect in the same attack on climbers, was killed during the escape attempt while a fourth criminal was recaptured by prison guards, he said. All of them were waiting for their trials to begin, Ahmed said.
Local television channels said in their reports that the militants had support from outside the jail but officials did not confirm it.
Police and paramilitary forces have launched a search to recapture the militants, local administration official Raja Sikandar Sultan said.
The incident occurred days after police in the region set up a high-altitude Himalayan unit to protect climbers.
Militants linked with al-Qaeda have staged two jailbreaks in Pakistan in 2012 and 2013, breaking free hundreds of their captured associates.