106 suspects in custody over Youhanabad riots


Police sources say two main accused of burning two youths alive also arrested from Gujranwala and Sialkot

The city police with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has identified and arrested 106 suspects believed to be involved in the violent protests that erupted after the deadly Youhanabad church bombings.

Informed sources told Pakistan Today that two key accused involved in the burning alive of two Muslim youths were also among those arrested by the police.

Sources said that the police traced the accused and managed to arrest them from Gujranwala and Sialkot as they had fled Lahore soon after the lynching incident. The detainees have been identified as Sohail Johnson and his brother Yousaf Johnson. Sources said that Sohail Johnson already has a criminal past and police investigators suspect that he had a major role in provoking the protesters to burn alive the two youths.

“Sohail is also suspected of bringing fuel from his car, which was later used to burn the two men,” sources said.

Sources said that those arrested are currently being investigated by the police to determine their role in the protests. Videos of the protests and fingerprints from various sites were used to identify people using NADRA’s database.

The suspects are currently being held at unknown locations and it is unclear how long they would be held. All those arrested are from the Christian community.

Following the terrorist attacks on the two churches in Lahore’s Youhanabad, overcome by their emotions and anger many young men belonging to the Christian community came out on the streets. The protesters clashed with dozens of baton-wielding police personnel. During the protest, stones were pelted at policemen holding up protective plastic shields. The protesters had also blocked roads ─ including the main Ferozepur Road that runs near the two attacked churches ─ preventing cars from passing.

The police had been ordered by the government to use tear gas to disperse the crowd. Water cannons were also used to push back the protesters.

One man died and several others were injured near Nishtar Colony when a terrified school teacher, surrounded by protesters, attempted to escape and accidentally ran over the demonstrators besieging her car.

TV footage also showed some men attacking a vehicle loaded with crates of soft beverages, and making off with dozens of bottles.

The situation was brought under control of police by the evening, as fresh contingents arrived at the site of the protest. Rangers also reached the protest site on the directives of the Punjab Home Department.

Talks between the Punjab government and Christian community had concluded successfully, with authorities forming a joint investigation team (JIT) in order to identify the suicide bombers through forensic reports and NADRA.


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