Peshawar Taliban school attack: Eyewitness accounts

Image copyright AFP

More than 140 people are known to have been killed by Taliban gunmen after they stormed a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.

The militants went from classroom to classroom for hours, killing at least 132 children, in what was the deadliest Taliban attack in Pakistan.

Details are still emerging of what happened inside the school - here are a number of accounts. (Readers may find some images distressing.)


Shahrukh Khan - 'I saw death so close'

Shahrukh Khan, 16, told the AFP news agency that he ducked below a desk when gunmen entered his classroom.

Speaking from Lady Reading Hospital, he said: "I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.

"The man with big boots kept on 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 added: "My body 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."

He also told Reuters: "One of my teachers was crying, she was shot in the hand and she was crying in pain.

"One terrorist then walked up to her and started shooting her until she stopped making any sound."

Shahrukh was shot in both legs, and survived by playing dead. "All around me my friends were lying injured and dead," he added.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Many of the survivors told how they watched the gunmen go from room to room, shooting anyone they saw

Amir Ameen - 'Before we could lock the door... they entered'

Amir Ameen, 17, told The Times: "It took us a few minutes to understand the situation - and then we ran."

"Before we could lock the door from inside, three attackers entered. There were around 10 boys in the room. They killed all of them. I am the only one who survived."


Unnamed military source - 'They... made the kids watch'

Speaking on guarantee of anonymity, the military source told NBC: "They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom.

"They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch."

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Media captionThe BBC's Mishal Husain reports from inside the school in Peshawar

Khalid Khan - 'They killed most of my class'

Thirteen-year-old Khalid Khan said he and his classmates were at a first aid lesson when two clean-shaven armed men wearing white clothes and black jackets entered the room.

"They opened fire at the students and then went out. The army doctor and soldiers managed to escape and we locked the doors from inside," he told Reuters. "But very soon they came, broke the doors and entered and again started firing."

He said many students tried to hide under their desks but were still shot. "They killed most of my class mates," he added.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Eyewitnesses said the gunmen set fire to several of the bodies as they moved through the school building

Mudassir Awan - 'Exams were being held'

Mudassir Awan told Reuters: "As soon as the firing started, we ran to our classrooms.

"A party was being held for classes nine and 10 and so a small number of children were there.

"On the upper floor, exams were being held for classes 11 and 12 and the students were sitting there.

"I saw the attackers. There were six or seven men. They were entering every class and they were killing the children."


Kashan, ninth-grade student - 'Firing indiscriminately'

Kashan told Pakistan's Express Tribune: "We were sitting in the hall and a colonel was giving a lecture when we heard firing from the back.

"The sound of the firing kept moving closer when suddenly the door behind us was kicked down and two people started firing indiscriminately."

Kashan sustained injuries to his feet, but managed to escape.


Unnamed male - 'They shot at anyone who moved'

Speaking to Pakistan's Geo News, one unnamed male said: "We ducked under the tables and chairs, but they shot at our heads and legs.

"They kept firing and coming further inside the room, but we did not move because they shot at anyone who moved.

"We continued to hide under the tables and chairs."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The gunmen roamed the school for about eight hours before the Pakistani army manage to regain control

Abdullah Jamal - 'All the children were bleeding'

A student at the school, Abdullah Jamal was shot in the leg during a first-aid class.

He said to Associated Press: "I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming.

"I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet.

"All the children had bullet wounds. All the children were bleeding."


Unnamed 9-year-old - 'A crowd of parents crying'

A nine-year-old boy, who was too afraid to be named, said that teachers took his class out through a back door when the shooting began.

"The teacher asked us to recite from the Quran quietly," he said.

"When we came out from the back door there was a crowd of parents who were crying. When I saw my father, he was also crying."

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