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January 28, 2008

Another Beslan - Red Mosque In Bannu? (Update: Thankfully, No)

Over three years ago, radical Islamists seized a school in Beslan in the Russian republic of North Ossetia-Alania and killed 334 people, including 186 children. Last year, jihadists seized the Red Mosque in Pakistan, and more than 170 people died as a result. Now Islamist radicals have seized a school in Bannu, North Waziristan and hold over 250 children as hostages:

Pro-Taleban militants are holding children and teachers hostage in a school near the Pakistani district of North Waziristan.

Officials told a BBC reporter at the scene that up to 250 children were inside the school.

The militants took shelter in the school in Bannu town after a confrontation with local police.

The BBC says some chidren may have been released, but that has not been confirmed. This has the earmarks of another disaster on the same scale as Beslan, only this time the Waziris will have to stand around and watch as the jihadis use their children for their political purposes. Once again, the Taliban targets the weakest and innocent for their psychotic purposes.

Keep an eye on this situation. It could have far-reaching implications if the Taliban turns this into a bloodbath. In the meantime, pray as hard as you can that they do not.

UPDATE: Thankfully, the children have been released unharmed:

Gunmen who took up to 250 Pakistani school children hostage on Monday in a northwestern town freed them all and surrendered to tribal elders, a government spokesman said.

It's not all good news. In a further erosion of Islamabad's writ in the Waziristans and the North West Frontier Province, the terrorists surrendered to the tribal elders, who will decide their fate. That makes it fairly clear that Pakistan has little ability to enforce the law in Bannu and elsewhere in the frontier provinces bordering Afghanistan. The elders will not likely take much forceful action against the men, whether they are Taliban as initial reports indicated or part of a kidnap gang as this report states.


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