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9 Victims of Sangin Incident Members of Same Family

01 Jul 2020 Tolo News

Nine victims of the 27 people killed in the artillery attack in Sangin district in the southern province of Helmand were members of one family, according to locals who talked to TOLOnews on Tuesday.

The UN mission in Afghanistan also said that based on its "initial" and “impartial” findings, the Afghan National Army mortars inflicted heavy civilian casualties Monday at a market in Sangin and that "multiple credible sources assert that the army fired lethal mortars in response to Taliban fire, missing intended target."

Eight members of the family were laid to rest on Monday, while another member, who sustained injuries in the attack, succumbed to his wounds and was laid to rest on Tuesday, according to TOLOnews’ Abdullah Achakzai who visited the incident scene on Tuesday.

Abdullah said the signs of the attack were still visible in the area, along with the belonging of the victims left at the scene following the incident.

“This is the eight martyred from our family,” said Sayed Mohammad, a relative of the victims, referring to their remains. 

“Why are they oppressing us? if you want to fire, go and fire it at another place. No firing occurred from our area, on the day of the incident, no bullet was fired from our area,” said Mohammad Naseer, a relative of the victims.

Most parts of Sangin district, particularly the place where the shells hit, are under Taliban control, according to locals.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission also said that the area is under Taliban control and that 27 people were killed and 35 others were wounded in the incident.

Some eyewitnesses also said the mortars were fired by Afghan army, calling for a thorough investigation into the incident.

“This is not the first, second or third time-- we face this situation all the time, we don’t have any other option except to act on our own,” said Allah Dad, an eyewitness.

“Nothing has been fired from our area,” said Attaullah, another eyewitness.

Helmand officials said a delegation has been assigned to find the perpetrators behind the incident.

“A probe team has been tasked to find out whether this incident was carried out by the Taliban or if it was carried out by the division (Afghan army division), the incident will be investigated seriously,” said Mujahidullah Safari, the deputy governor of Helmand.

 The incident happened on Monday morning when the locals were busy attending a local festival in a market in Sangin district – a district that has witnessed heavy clashes between government forces and the Taliban over the last 18 years.

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