PESHAWAR: Three children were killed and two others injured in a roadside bomb blast near a police checkpoint in the outskirts of Peshawar on Wednesday.
An official at the local police station told The Express Tribune that the blast occurred close to a road linking the provincial capital to the frontier regions. A witness at the site, Fahim, said thick smoke engulfed the area following the attack. “Four children were lying on the ground aged 10-12 years old. Three were dead, while one was shifted to the hospital,” he said. Police said the children were returning from a religious seminary after the evening prayers and were hit by an Improvised Explosive Device.
It could not be ascertained whether the intended target was the police checkpoint. Earlier on Wednesday, two minor girls were killed, while two others sustained injuries when a grenade was thrown on an under construction portion of their house. Police said the children were playing at the time of the attack and were members of the same family. The incident occurred in the Ram Kashan locality of Bakhsi Pul area on Charsadda road at around 6:30 am.
Sher Khan, father of a sixyear- old girl who died, blamed the attack on local criminals who allegedly threatened to kill his children unless he handed over a large amount of money. “I was receiving threats from a local criminal group to pay 500,000 rupees,” Khan told a news agency AFP. “I don’t know who these people are as there are several criminal groups operating in the area,” he said.
“These people killed my daughter and niece,” he added. Residents of the area blocked the road following the attack, and traffic on the busy Charsadda road remained suspended for around half an hour. SP Rural Circle Abdul Kalam Khan told reporters that the police had arrested three people in connection with the attack. The arrested include one person accused by the family.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 13th, 2010.