GILGIT: The massacre of 10 foreign climbers on Pakistan’s “Killer Mountain” a year ago came after a failed attempt to capture a Chinese-American to use him as a high-value bargaining chip, officials and militant sources have told AFP.
The June 22, 2013 attack at the base camp for the 8,126-metre (26,660-foot) Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s second-highest mountain — nicknamed for its treacherous terrain — was the deadliest assault on foreigners in the troubled nuclear-armed country for a decade.
Through interviews with multiple officials, militants and negotiators assigned to bring the culprits out of hiding, AFP has been able to piece together a picture of the events surrounding the slaughter and its aftermath.
One year on, with tourism in the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region still suffering, most of the 10 suspects implicated in the attack are still at large, while sources close to the investigation have cast doubt on the guilt of some of those arrested.
The victims were identified as three Ukrainians, two Chinese — including Chinese-American Chen Honglu — two Slovakians, one Lithuanian and one Nepalese as well as a Pakistani guide.
But dual national Chen was the prime target, according to militant sources.