Pakistan: More than 100 Christians arrested following riots and death of 2 men

People from the Christian community attend a protest to condemn suicide bombings which took place outside two churches in Lahore, March 16, 2015.Reuters

More than 100 Christians have been arrested in Pakistan for allegedly being part of a mob that rioted, killed and burned two men after the suicide attacks on two churches that killed 17 people.

Nearly 80 more people were injured in the terror attacks two weeks ago in the Youhanabad Christian community in Lahore, carried out by Jamat-ul-Ahrar, an offshoot of the Taliban.

A police investigations officer told The Hindu: "We first established identity of the suspects through TV footages, still cameras and other relevant sources before laying hand on them."

The bombers detonated their devices after guards refused them entry to the churches.

Two suspects taken into custody were captured, beaten up, tied up and then set on fire by young people angered by the attacks. I was later found they were both shop workers with no criminal records. Thousands rioted in Lahore and there were calls for better protection by the government.

According to Fides News Agency, two Christians, Sohail Johnason and Yousaf Kamran, are believed by police to be responsible for the beating and burnings of the two men, whose charred remains were found later. Witnesses recorded the attacks on mobile phones.

Haroon Barkat Masih, head of the Masihi Foundation, which helps Christian minorities in Pakistan, said all the innocent people who had also been arrested now had to be released. "It is right to bring to justice the perpetrators, but everyone has to be treated in the same way."

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