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Arson Attack Damages Girls Madrasah In Pakistan

Massive damage was done to a girls madrasah, or Islamic religious school, set on fire by Islamic insurgents in northwestern Pakistan on May 17, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Officials said on May 18 that no one was killed or injured in the arson attack, which occurred in the village of Manerai in the Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

District official Muhammad Ijaz told RFE/RL that a few copies of the Koran were also destroyed in the blaze.

"No one stays in the madrasah during the night. In the daytime, a female teacher is teaching the Koran to girls. The madrasah was not registered," he said.

"Last night, some people set the building on fire, which also burnt some copies of the Koran."

Kalsoom Bibi, a student at the madrasah who lives nearby, said that 80 girls study at the madrasah.

"The seminary teacher serves at a primary school as well as running this madrasah," she said. "When she opened the madrasah this morning everything was burned, including some copies of the holy Koran."

The Swabi district is one of the most educated and developed parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Earlier this week, unidentified armed men gunned down three members of a tribal peace militia, all of them from the Mohmand tribal agency.

Hundreds of schools have been set alight by Islamic insurgents in western Pakistan in recent years.