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Taliban gunman shoots teen advocate of educating girls

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A 14-year-old Pakistani activist who has championed the education of girls was shot Tuesday by a Taliban gunman while she was riding home from school in a bus, reports

The teenager -- Malala Yousafzai -- was shot as the bus was about to leave the school grounds in the town of Mingora in Pakistan's volatile Swat valley, the Associated Press reports.

Malala has stirred the anger of the Taliban by publicizing their atrocities, particularly on women and girls.

The town's police chief says the gunman approached the bus and asked which one of the girls was Malala. Another girl pointed to Malala, but the activist denied it was she and the gunman then shot both girls, the AP reports.

But a police official also tells the BBC Urdu service that unidentified gunmen opened fire on the schoolgirls as they were about to board a van or bus.

Malala was shot twice — once in the head and once in the neck — but her wounds are not life-threatening, says Tariq Mohammad, a doctor at Mingora's main hospital. The second girl shot was in stable condition, the doctor says.

Pakistani television showed pictures of Malala being taken by helicopter to a military hospital in Peshawar.

In the past, the Taliban has threatened Malala and her family for her activism. When she was only 11, she began writing a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC's Urdu service about life under Taliban occupation.

After the Taliban were ejected from the Swat Valley in the summer of 2009, she began speaking out publicly about the militant group and the need for girls' education.

"Girl members play an active role," she said, according to an article on the U.N. organization's website. "We have highlighted important issues concerning children, especially promoting girls' education in Swat."

Pakistan Offers Bounty For Malala Yousafzai’s Shooter

 “The government has decided to award Rs 10 million rupees to whoever helps us identify the attackers and their names will be kept secret, stated the country’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, reports

Malik added that authorities have identified the attackers but have not yet made any arrests.


October 13 2012, 01:49

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