MIRALI: In a brazen daylight attack, masked terrorists shot dead four women vocational trainers and injured their driver near Mirali in North Waziristan tribal district on Monday.

Police said a vehicle carrying five women was driving through a village near Mirali when the gunmen opened fire on it, killing four of them on the spot.

The slain trainers were identified as Naheed Bibi, Irshad Bibi, Ayesha Bibi and Javeria Bibi. They belonged to the nearby Bannu district. The driver of the vehicle, Abdul Khaliq, suffered bullet injuries in the attack. He is under treatment at a local hospital.

District Police Officer Shafiullah Gandapur issued a press release after the killing of the four women trainers, stating that the four were targeted and killed by terrorists in Eppi village near Mirali.

The police statement said that the driver suffered injuries in the attack while one woman trainer, Mariam Bibi, survived as she took shelter in the village. Bodies of the four women were taken to the tehsil headquarters hospital in Mirali town.

Earlier, police had said that the women were working for an NGO to give vocational training to local women in Eppi village.

Later, the DPO changed his statement and said that the women were working for a technical institute based in Bannu to develop vocational skills of the local women. He said that the NGO had signed a memorandum of understanding with the institute to give vocational training to women of the area.

The NGOs office in Peshawar said that the women killed in the attack were not affiliated with the organisation. An official of the NGO told Dawn that the four women were attached to a technical college in Bannu.

He said that the women trainers had proceeded from Bannu to Eppi village to give vocational training to the local women. He said that his organisation had been working on a project for skill development of the womenfolk of the area.

In September last year, some unidentified gunmen had killed a lady health worker in Khaisur area near Mirali. Mirali was the bastion of local and foreign insurgents before operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched in June 2014.

A police official said that on Sunday night gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in Shewa area near Mirali and killed its driver named Wali Gul. The gunmen also kidnapped 10 people including six non-locals.

Unicef condemns attack

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has expressed shock over the killing of the four women.

“UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless attack on women and aid workers and joins the families in mourning this tragic loss of lives. The perpetrators must be brought to justice,” said Unicef Representative in Pakistan, Aida Girma.

“Unicef is saddened and shocked at the reported killing of four women who were reportedly staff members of Bravo College, Bannu, and they were travelling to North Waziristan, one of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s merged districts, earlier on Monday. Their driver was reportedly injured in the attack after unidentified assailants fired on their vehicle,” Unicef said in a statement issued in Islamabad.

Amin Ahmed in Islamabad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2021

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