Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pakistan Aid Group Suspends Work After Burying Slain Workers

A funeral prayer is held in Swabi for Lubna Mahmood, 26, one of the aid workers who was killed by unidentified gunmen.
A funeral prayer is held in Swabi for Lubna Mahmood, 26, one of the aid workers who was killed by unidentified gunmen.
SWABI, Pakistan -- A Pakistani charity has suspended operations after burying seven workers killed by unknown gunmen.

On January 2, the organization Support With Working Solution said it will suspend its work for three days to mourn the deaths.

Earlier, hundreds of mourners attended the funerals of the slain aid workers in Swabi, a district in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The six female aid workers and the male doctor were gunned down on January 1 as they returned home from work at a children's community center in the town of Swabi.

The district, about 75 kilometers northwest of Islamabad, has been the scene of relatively few attacks compared to nearby Peshawar, the provincial capital.

Javid Akhtar, head of Support With Working Solutions, told RFE/RL the funerals began in the morning and went on until the late afternoon.

He said his colleagues were making their routine trip home from work when they were ambushed.

"They were working at a health facility and a primary school for girls run by the [Swabi] community center," Akhtar said. "They were intercepted by [armed] men when they finished duty and were on their way back [home]."

The charity said the attacks may be linked to the recent killings of polio-vaccination workers, although the victims do not appear to have been involved in the group's work helping vaccinate Pakistani children.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police have begun an investigation but have not made any arrests.

Rashid Khan, a senior police officer in Swabi, told AFP the authorities could not investigate anyone for the crime yet.

The attack in Swabi follows a string of attacks on aid workers last month.

Nine polio workers were shot dead in a string of attacks in the northwest and in the southern port of Karachi.

In Peshawar, police officer Imtiaz Altaf said the authorities were working on a strategy to provide protection to aid workers.

With reporting by AP and AFP

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.