Girls display a poster while sitting at their desk, as their teacher, not shown, talks to them about 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on Tuesday by a Taliban gunman for her role in promoting girls' education in the Swat Valley where she lives, in a school in Islamabad, Oct 12, 2012. — AP Photo

PESHAWAR: Security forces personnel on Saturday detained five people, including an Afghan national, in Nowshera's Akbarpura area in connection with the attack on child activist Malala Yousufzai, DawnNews reported.

The detained men include three brothers Inam, Abdul Haadi and Obaidur Rehman and two others, including an Afghan refugee.

The men were taken into custody by security forces who had traveled from Swat to Akbarpura on a tip-off. They had first raided a mosque and had later raided a house from where the men were detained.

Fifty-five people, including three key people, have reportedly been detained during the past two days in the case.

On the other hand, District Police Officer (DPO) Swat Gul Afzal Khan Afridi has claimed that the mastermind behind the attack on Malala was a man named Ataullah.

Afzal moreover stated that Ataullah was from Swat's Sangota region and police and security forces had detained a number of individuals from in and around the region.

The DPO moreover stated that the detainees were shifted to an undisclosed location for questioning.

He said soon the accused would be brought before the public.

Moreover, police have been questioning people in the town of Mingora, in the Swat Valley, where the shooting took place.

AP adds: Afridi declined to give any details about the detained or what role they’re suspected of having in the shooting. He said he did not want to endanger the ongoing investigation.

Earlier on Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that the two gunmen who staged the attack were not among those arrested, but he said investigators had identified the masterminds of the shooting and efforts were under way to capture all those involved.

Between April and June, authorities had arrested nearly 100 militants in the Swat Valley, said two security officials and a senior government official.

One of those arrested was a woman identified as Naheed Bibi, who was married to Fazlullah and had been sent by him to the valley to help reactivate militant cells there, the officials added.

Her interrogation led security officials to over 60 telephone numbers of SIM cards she and her aides had bought in various northwestern cities. By monitoring all the numbers, authorities rounded up the militants — including several would-be suicide bombers — and a large number of weapons and explosives was also seized, the officials said.

The officials did not want to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Zahir Shah contributed to reporting