PESHAWAR, Sept 8: The Taliban on Tuesday shot dead four schoolchildren and wounded six others in the remote tribal town of Atmankhel in Orakzai Agency.
The boys were going to school when the militants opened fire, killing four of them and wounding six others, local administration official Asmatullah Khan said.
“It appears to be a sectarian attack because the slain students belonged to the Shia community,” he said. “The attackers were Taliban,” he added.
Residents said the dead students were all younger than 16.
“I heard gunfire and came out of my home,” resident Samiullah Khan said by telephone. “I saw people armed with Kalashnikov rifles fleeing in two jeeps, while several students were bleeding.”
“They opened ... fire on the students and we have reports of four deaths,” said Khaista Gul, an official in the agency administration.
Tribesmen retaliated after the attack and killed at least two militants and wounded several, said residents of the area near the region’s main town of Kalaya.
Orakzai borders Khyber Agency 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.
Taliban fighters frequently attack and burn schools in the NWFP and tribal areas.