Peshawar, May 5 : In a bid to stop girls education, a group of around 30 unidentified militants barged into a government girls school in Charbagh city of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) last night and set ablaze nine rooms.
Before reducing nine rooms of the school to ashes, the militants took the school watchman hostage.
Charbagh lies in the restive Swat Valley. The incident is the latest in the series of attacks on girl schools which have been continuously facing the wrath of Islamic fanatics who are against girls education in this remote and backward area. Earlier, some unknown miscreants had also blown up Government Girls High School in Kabal near Mingora with an explosive device. The destruction of the school disrupted the education of a large number of female students.
As a result of poor law and order situation, more than 250 girl students have already quit the school and stopped receiving education.
"Unknown miscreants forced their entry into the school, took the watchman hostage at gunpoint, collected the copies of the Holy Quran and other Islamic literature before torching the school building," The News quoted sources as saying.
The nine rooms of the school building, made of wood and tin sheet, including the laboratory, were reduced to ashes within no time, the sources said and added that the militants also planted three powerful explosive devices in two other rooms, made of bricks and cement, which could not explode.
Security forces and bomb disposal squad defused the bombs the following morning.
The watchman told police that militants were 30 in number. "They overpowered me all of a sudden and then set ablaze the school and planted the bombs," he said.
Meanwhile, the police arrested 11 suspected militants in a joint search operation. Sources said forces cordoned off the area and during search nabbed several suspects. Confirming the arrests, a spokesman for the Swat media centre said that arms also recovered form those arrested.