PESHAWAR – Taleban militants on Tuesday shot dead four schoolchildren and wounded six others in an apparent sectarian attack in a remote tribal town in northwest Pakistan, officials and residents said.
The students were going to school in Atmankhel town of Orakzai district when the militants opened fire, killing four boys and wounding six others, said local administration official Asmatullah Khan. “It appears to be a sectarian attack as the slain students belonged to the minority Shiite sect of Islam,” he said. “The attackers were Taleban.”
Residents said the dead students were all younger than 16, but were not able to give the exact ages of the victims. “I heard gunfire and came out of my home,” said local resident Samiullah Khan, “I saw people armed with Kalashnikov rifles fleeing in two jeeps, while several students were bleeding.”
Orakzai borders Khyber district, where the military launched a fresh offensive against extremists about a week ago, sending thousands of residents fleeing and killing more than 130 rebels, according to army figures.
Taleban fighters frequently attack and burn schools in the northwest, while tensions are also rife in the area between the majority Sunnis and the Shiites. – AFP