In PAKISTAN, where Taliban from the TTP movement regularly attack school buildings, the determination of Malala Yousafzai, 17, to push for girls’ education almost cost her life. On October 9, 2012, the Taliban intercepted her bus in Swat, northwest Pakistan. They shot Malala in the head but she survived and two years later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In RUSSIA, on September 1-3, 2004, pro-Chechen rebels stormed a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, as classes began for the year, taking almost 1,200 people hostage. An assault by Russian special forces left 331 hostages dead, including 186 children, and around 400 wounded. Thirty-one rebels died.
In NIGERIA, Boko Haram Islamists have carried out many attacks and kidnappings, including one on April 14, 2014, when 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria were abducted. Some managed to escape shortly afterwards, but 219 are still listed as missing. The group has also launched suicide attacks on schools.
In the PHILIPPINES, on January 28, 1999, some 500 students and 70 teachers from a school near Cotabato, southern Philippines, were seized by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Some were released shortly afterwards while 60 others, including 40 children, were used to cover the rebel’s escape. All were freed the next day.
Elsewhere, many schools and universities have suffered deadly attacks by lone gunmen beset by psychological problems.
In the UNITED STATES, where such shootings have become fairly common, the most deadly took place on a Virginia Tech campus on April 16, 2007, and killed 32 people.
Also seared into the minds of many are shootings at Newtown elementary school in Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults died on December 14, 2013, and in Columbine, Colorado, where 13 died on April 20, 1999.
Such attacks have also occurred in Germany, where 16 were killed at a high school in Erfurt, eastern Germany, and Dunblane, Scotland, where a man killed 16 school children and a teacher at a primary school in March 1996.
NORWAY was hit on July 22, 2011 by an attack on a summer camp of young Socialists that killed 77 people and was planned and executed by Anders Behring Breivik, an extreme right-wing activist.