97 schoolgirls poisoned in Faryab, Sar-i-Pul
MAIMANA/SAR-I-PUL (PAN): Nearly a hundred schoolgirls were hospitalised after falling sick due to suspected poisonous gas attacks in northern Faryab and Sari-i-Pul provinces, officials said on Sunday.
First the incident took place at the Jamshidi School in Maimana, the provincial capital, at 4pm on Saturday. The affected girls were rushed to the Afghan-Turk hospital, said Faryab Public Health Director Dr. Abdul Ali Halim.
A doctor at the hospital, Syed Qudratullah Hashimi, said they initially received 64 girls and more students were brought hours later, taking the number to 77.
The girls were discharged around10pm, the emergency ward head said.
“When the girls started falling unconscious, our teacher saw a man fleeing to the school’s orchard,” an eighth grade student, Farah Naz, said. She asked the government to ensure tight security around schools and punish those involved in poisoning children.
Deputy police chief, Brig. Gen. Totam Dara, confirmed the incident, but denied to speak to media.
In Sari-i-Pul, 20 middle school girls fell ill for unknown reasons in Behsud area on the outskirts of the provincial capital with teh same name in the afternoon.
Acting Public Health Director Dr. Anwarul Haq Jalis said the students were evacuated to hospital for treatment and their condition was out of danger.
An investigation team sent to the school returned without finding any suspicious object that could have caused illness among girls, he said, suspecting hot weather and unhygienic environment could be a cause.
But one of the affected girls, Anisa, who is being treated at the civil hospital, said there was a bad smell when they entered classrooms around 9am.
It was at 10am when a number of girls fell unconscious, she said, complaining about irregular cleanliness efforts at her school.
Deputy police chief, Col. Sakhi Dad, said they had found nothing suspicious during an investigation into the incident. He added the authorities concerned should keep schools clean.
But Education Director Abdul Ghafoor linked the illness to widespread fears among schoolchildren about gas attacks.
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