An improvised explosive device (IED) went off in the early hours of Tuesday near a passing-by school van in Bajaur Agency, killing all the six commuters – including three female teachers, two kids and the driver. The vehicle was completely destroyed due to the impact of the huge blast.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Khar sub-division’s political administration official Sohail Khan confirmed the incident.
“The school van had picked up the teachers from Civil Colony Khar and the incident took place when it was going towards their school in Tangi area of Salarzai – some five kilometres north-west of the agency headquarters Khar,” he said.
He said the schoolteachers belonged to Malakand and Mardan districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the kids were their relatives, while the driver was a local tribesman.
“After the incident, the political administration cordoned off the area and started a search operation, which is still underway,” he said, adding that the law enforcers had rounded up ten suspects under the FCR.
The official said it was not clear as to who was the target. “Such attacks are always carried out against security forces and pro-government tribal elders,” he said. However, the official said, the administration had discovered and defused two such IEDs on Monday.
Agency headquarters Khar hospital official Dr Afif told The Express Tribune that six dead bodies were brought to the hospital. “The bodies were badly mutilated and it was difficult to identify them. Later, they were handed over to their families,” he added.
An education department official from Khar said female teachers had been targeted in the agency in the past. “Two lady teachers were killed near Khar Shandai Morr and two in Dag Qilla, while more than one hundred schools had been blown up in the agency in the past seven years,” he said.
Three security men injured
Meanwhile, three security officials also got injured in another IED blast in the Mulla Said area of Salarzai tehsil of Bajaur Agency.
“The security personnel were taking water to their post when an IED went off along the way. The injured were later shifted to AHQ Khar, but they are out of danger now,” said political administration official Salarzai.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for both the attacks till this report was filed.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2014.