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Angry Crowd Torches Pakistani Police Station Over Boy's Killing

Locals blamed the police for "failing to find the kidnappers."
Locals blamed the police for "failing to find the kidnappers."

LAKKI MARWAT, Pakistan -- Pakistanis outraged by the killing of a 4-year-old boy set a local police station in the northwest of the country on fire on August 18 as scores of locals protested the police failure to protect residents and solve the crime.

Chanting anti-police slogans, protesters also blocked the main highway connecting the provincial capital, Peshawar, with southern districts.

The protest follows the discovery earlier in the day of the body of the child, Owais, who was thought to have been kidnapped about a month ago while playing outside his home in the Lakki Marwat district.

“His body was found in the fields near our home," a sister told RFE/RL. "The body was decomposed. We couldn’t even see his face. We’ll continue our protest, even if it takes months or a year. We will not bury him and will keep his body and the skeleton until the [police] find his killer."

Shakir Khan, a local resident who joined the protest, said that many people blame the police for "failing to find the kidnappers."

The district police chief, Qasim Ali Khan, called for calm.

He rejected accusations of police incompetence, saying they "did everything to find the child."

“[The family] had blamed a person whom police arrested at that time, but they couldn’t recover the child," Khan said on August 18. "I had formed two committees and I myself interrogated 15 to 20 suspects, despite that, police couldn’t get any clue about the child. This morning his body was found near his home and people began their protest, damaging public property."

The cause of death in the case was not immediately clear.

Earlier this year, the kidnapping and killing of a 10-year-old girl in Islamabad triggered street protests and national condemnation in Pakistan, where crimes against children are common and often go unpunished.