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Another girls’ school blown up in tribal district

PESHAWAR: Suspected militants blew up a girls’ school in a village near Wana town of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s South Waziristan district, officials said on Friday – 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.

Residents voiced concerns, saying that it was the only private girls’ school in the area and had been under constant threat from terrorists for some time. Despite prior alerts to the law enforcement agencies, no measures were taken to safeguard the school.

Source: Express Tribune