Several teachers killed in Pakistan school shooting

Gunmen have stormed a school in Pakistan’s volatile northwest, killing several teachers and gunning down another teacher from the school in a separate attack, according to officials.

In Kurram, a district in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan, a group of gunmen on Thursday stormed a government school where students were taking exams. The seven teachers killed were members of Pakistan’s minority Shia community, which is frequently targeted by fighters.Another teacher from the same school, a Sunni Muslim, was gunned down on the road in a separate attack earlier in the day in Kurram, according to local police official Abbas Ali.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks and Ali said it was not clear if they were linked.

“We are looking into all aspects, and so far we have no idea who killed the teachers,” he said. The prime minister condemned the attacks on teachers and ordered a probe into the killings.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the “gruesome incident” took place in an area that has witnessed in the past sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni tribes.“Most of the teachers who were killed belonged to the Turi Shia tribe,” Hyder said.

The tribal district contains a majority Shia population who are often attacked by armed groups as part of the local Taliban movement.

“This particular attack targeted the teachers while they were in the staffroom … They were there to conduct examinations which are under way throughout the province for lower secondary school,” he said.

The circumstances have remained “mysterious”, as not many people were able to see what had transpired, how many attackers were involved, or what their motives were, Hyder said.

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