Another Waziristan school torched

School furniture, ceiling, computers, books, educational certificates and other equipment were reduced to ashes



Unidentified miscreants set fire to yet another girls’ school in Razmak area of North Waziristan tribal district on Tuesday.

Miscreants torched the school in Tehsil Razmak Tuesday night without inviting any attention. According to local residents, the miscreants entered the building of Golden Arrow Public School in Shakhimar village and set it on fire before making good their escape. Due to the fire, school furniture, ceiling, computers, books, educational certificates and other equipment were reduced to ashes.

Earlier this year in March, terrorists opened fire at the same school and destroyed its solar system.

Abrar, a member of Shakhimar Welfare Organization, said that the state-of-the art girls’ school was built in 2020 as a result of joint efforts of the army and local youth organization Shakhimar Welfare Society, and more than 300 girls had been enrolled in the first academic year which multiplied each passing year.

Currently more than 500 female students were studying in the school. He said that after the first attack, fear had spread among the residents in the area, but the elders and youth persuaded the parents to send their girls to the school. However, the miscreants once again targeted the school building.

On May 17, suspected militants blew up a girls’ school in a village near Wana town of South Waziristan district, officials said– just a week after another one was targeted in a similar manner in the restive tribal regions of the province.

There was no loss of life reported in the overnight attack, but the academy was heavily damaged.

The under-construction academy was being built with the support of the Wana Welfare Association.

An official of the association said the academy was inaugurated on March 20.

He regretted that the school – being built to spread literacy among girls in the backward region – was bombed.

The official continued that he was unaware of the motive behind the attack, but rued that some elements in the region were against girls’ education.

According to police, an investigation was under way about the explosion.

No one was hurt in the latest attack overnight on Thursday, according to the non-government group Wana Welfare Association which runs the school.

“About a month ago, we received a letter from a militant group demanding a specific portion of our funding. A few days later, another letter was thrown into our office, demanding a payment of 10 million rupees ($36,000),” a senior member of the Wana Welfare Association in Peshawar told AFP.

“Following that, we started receiving threatening calls from Afghan numbers, demanding extortion money,” he added, asking not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media.

He alleged school administration was told demands were coming from local Taliban fractions.

“We made numerous attempts to reach out to these militant groups locally but were unsuccessful,” he said.

A district government official told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that Taliban factions are extorting local traders in the area.

“Those who refuse to pay are targeted, with their homes damaged or themselves killed,” he told AFP.

He said several traders have been kidnapped and murdered in the past couple of years.

Earlier this month, a girls’ school was blown up by unidentified attackers in the Shewa Tehsil of North Waziristan.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2024.


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