Five women teachers killed by Islamic extremists in Pakistan
Attack aimed at discouraging education for females in country
Five women teachers traveling in a van in northwest Pakistan were shot to death by Islamic militants. It was a brutal beginning for a new year in a nation where both education for females - and such rudimentary things as polio vaccine for children are frowned upon, and called immoral "influences from the west." Two health workers were also killed in the incident.
The driver of the van where five women instructors were killed by militants in Pakistan survived the attack and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
The teachers and two health workers, one man and one woman were killed in the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
The workers were on their way home from a community center in the town of Swabi where they were working at a primary school and medical center. Javed Akhtar, executive director of the non-governmental organization Support with Working Solutions said that gunmen on motorcycles opened fire with automatic weapons.
The NGO conducts programs in the education and health sectors and runs a primary school and a medical clinic at the community center in Swabi, he said.
Swabi Police Chief Abdur Rasheed says that most of the women killed were between the ages of 20 and 22. He said the four gunmen who used two motorcycles fled the scene and have not been apprehended.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incident.
The incident here was a deadly and familiar one. It was the same region that a Taliban gunman shot 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai in the head last October for daring to criticize militants and quietly promoting girls' education. She continues to recover in Britain.
The attack was yet another grim reminder of the risks faced by educators and aid workers, in particular women, in an area where Islamic militants often target women and girls trying to get an education.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has since many attacks in opposition to female education. Schools have been blown up, and instructors have been killed is an attempt to demoralize and discourage girls here from learning.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Pakistan, militants, teachers, health workers, girl education
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