LANDI KOTAL/SWABI, July 15: Dozens of armed militants ransacked at least 11 government schools in Shalobar area of Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency on Friday and took with them furniture, doors and other articles in their vehicles.

Confirming the incidents of vandalism, administration officials said that this time the militants had changed their modus operandi by taking along furniture and other paraphernalia instead of destroying the school buildings. The local administration has since long shifted their offices from Bara.

They said that the ransacked schools in Shalobar included the girls primary schools in Shah Hussain Kalay, Bahar Gul Kalay, Haji Qadeer Kalay, Azam Khan Kalay, Qowat Khan Kalay, Afsar Jan Kalay, Qismat Khan Kalay, Mashumano Adeera and Jani Khel, and boys primary schools in Khan Kalim Kalay in Sur Kas and Haji Meena Dar Kalay in Muslim Dhand.

Local residents said that militants who came in double cabin pickup vehicles in large numbers used heavy hammers to pull out doors and windows of all these schools and took them in their vehicles along with furniture and other office items. They even took along bricks of the destroyed portions of the schools.

They said that the militants continued uprooting whatever part of these schools they could for several hours in a daylight despite curfew imposed in the area. The residents said that militants told them that the schools have been vandalised as a punishment for their assistance with the security forces.

The collective looting of 11 schools happened within 24 hours of the destruction of four government schools in Akkakhel area of Bara.

Meanwhile, a government school was blown up by suspected militants in Swabi district on Friday morning.

Officials said that the blast had dealt extensive damage to the school building and it could not be used now. “The windows, fans and furniture of the school were completely destroyed while the walls of classrooms had developed big cracks,” they said.

Police said that unknown miscreants had planted an explosive device at the building of government high school for boys in Marghuz area of Swabi which exploded with a big bang. The militants had earlier targeted primary schools constructed by donors in Razaar tehsil. No casualty occurred as the educational institutions were closed for the summer vacations.

Zaida police SHO Maluk Shah said that following the incident they had arrested three watchmen for questioning. They will be freed after the necessary investigation, he said.

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