Suspected militants have ambushed a vehicle carrying four women activists from an NGO in the northwest region of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan, killing them and wounding the driver.
The attack occurred on February 22 in the village of Ippi in Mir Ali, a town in the North Waziristan district, Shafiullah Gandapur, the police chief of North Waziristan, told RFE/RL.
Shafi Ullah Khan, a district police chief, also confirmed the attack, saying security forces were scouring the area to find the attackers, who fled to nearby mountains. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Officials said the victims were from the Sabawoon charity, which provides training to women interested in doing business from their homes and creates awareness among them about their rights.
The women activists traveled to Mir Ali from the town of Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Pakistani militants have stepped up their activities in the region in recent months, raising fears they were regrouping in the former Taliban stronghold.
Militants also often attack Pakistani troops in the regions bordering Afghanistan.
Separately, armed men killed one person and kidnapped eight others in the Shewa subdistrict late on February 21. Police officials say government employees were among those kidnapped and that a search operation is under way. There has been no claim of responsibility so far.
Complaints have intensified among locals over the increasing incidents of targeted killings in North Waziristan over the past year.
Pakistani security forces conducted a massive anti-Taliban operation in the area in June 2014 and claim the area has been secured. However, local inhabitants complain that groups of armed men are making a comeback in the area.