'Bomb explosion kills four children in northwest Pak' | world | Hindustan Times
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'Bomb explosion kills four children in northwest Pak'

world Updated: Apr 25, 2009 21:19 IST

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At least four children were killed in a bomb explosion in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, officials said.

"The children had found the bomb outside a girls' primary school in Luqman Banda village of Lower Dir town," local police official Sultan Mehmood told AFP.

The gender and ages of the children were not immediately known.

"We have sent police officials to the site to collect more information including the type of bomb," Mehmood said.

He added: "According to preliminary information the explosion took place while the children were even unable to ascertain that it was a bomb, killing four of them".

Another local police official, Zahid Jan also confirmed the incident and said he feared the death toll would rise.

Lower Dir is part of the Malakand area, where President Asif Ali Zardari has authorised an agreement allowing the enforcement of sharia law in exchange for the end of a brutal two-year-long Taliban uprising concentrated in Swat.

The rugged mountainous town is located 75 kilometres (46 miles) west of Swat, a former ski resort and erstwhile jewel in the crown of Pakistan's tourism industry, which is now under the control of radical Islamists.

A number of girls schools were targeted during the uprising by militants, who believe it un-Islamic for women to be educated.

The beheading of opponents was common and brutal punishments, such as floggings, were often carried out in public, as the radical Islamists sought to impose their brand of strict sharia in the region.

Saturday's explosion coincided with the withdrawal of scores of Taliban militants from Buner district, 100 kilometres northwest of the capital Islamabad, after their earlier overrunning of the area sparked international concerns and led to US warnings that Islamist advances pose "an existential threat" to nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Pakistan's northwest has been wracked by violence since hundreds of extremists fled across the border to escape the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.