‘Toy’ bomb kills 12 children in Pakistan

Islamabad, April 26 (Inditop) A homemade bomb killed 12 children and wounded three others in Pakistan’s volatile northwestern region, officials said Sunday.

The explosive device resembling a football was picked up by the children Saturday as they were returning home from school in Luqman Banda village of Lower Dir district, a local police officer, Saeed Zaman, said.

“The bomb exploded as the children started playing with it in their house,” according to Zaman.

Eight of the 12 children killed in the blast belonged to the same family. The victims were between four and 13 years old.

Zaman said police were investigating whether “the toy bomb” was given to the children or if it came from unexploded munitions left behind by militants who once fought in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Dir adjoins the restive Swat region where fierce battles between the government forces and the Taliban militants stopped in February after a hard-line cleric brokered a shaky peace deal.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari earlier this month approved imposition of Islamic sharia law in Swat and the Malakand division, which includes Dir, in return for end to the insurgency.

But militant violence in the region in recent days has put the agreement in danger, with increasing pressure on the nuclear-armed Islamic country to act against the insurgent instead of ceding more and more territory to them.