Pakistani police arrest suspects in schoolgirl shooting (+video)
Pakistani police say they have arrested a number of suspects in the shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who promoted education for girls and criticized the Taliban.
Pakistani police have arrested a number of suspects in the case of a 14-year-old girl shot and wounded by the Taliban for promoting education for girls and criticizing the fundamentalist Islamic movement, officials said Friday.Skip to next paragraph
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The shooting of Malala Yousufzai along with two classmates while they were on their way home from school Tuesday horrified people in Pakistan and internationally. The shooting has been followed by an outpouring of support for a girl who earned the enmity of the Taliban for publicizing their acts and speaking about the importance of education for girls.
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying that the girl was promoting "Western thinking."
Providing more details, a Taliban spokesman said the top leadership of the Taliban's Swat Valley chapter decided two months ago to kill Yousufzai in a carefully planned attack after her family ignored repeated warnings.
Police have been questioning people in the town of Mingora, where the shooting took place.
Mingora police chief Afzal Khan Afridi said arrests had been made, but he declined to give any details about the number of people detained or what role they're suspected in having in the shooting. He said he did not want to endanger the ongoing investigation.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters Friday that the two gunmen who staged the attack were not among those arrested, but he said investigators had identified the masterminds and efforts were under way to capture all those involved.
The Taliban spokesman, Sirajuddin Ahmad, said her family had been warned three times — the most recent warning coming last week — before the decision was made to execute her.
Ahmad said the local Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah and his deputies selected three attackers, including two trained sharpshooters, who carefully studied the girl's route home from school.
Even before the Taliban took over the Swat Valley, Fazlullah's radio broadcasts spread fear among residents in the area. The group first started to exert its influence in 2007 and quickly extended its reach to much of the valley by the next year. They set about imposing their will on residents by forcing men to grow beards, preventing women from going to the market and blowing up many schools — the majority for girls.