QUETTA: Gunmen killed at least 14 people after forcing them to disembark from buses in Pakistan’s Balochistan, officials said Thursday, in the latest attack claimed by separatists in the restive southwestern province.
The attackers, who numbered around two dozen, were wearing uniforms of the paramilitary Frontier Corps, provincial home secretary Haider Ali told AFP.They “stopped buses on the Makran Coastal Highway and gunned down 14 people”, he said, adding that the four vehicles were travelling to the port megacity of Karachi from the coastal town of Ormara.
The gunmen identified non-Baloch passengers by their identity cards and shot them, he said. All the victims are believed to be Pakistani, with a naval official and a coast guard member among the dead.
The attack was claimed by a Baloch separatist group. A militant spokesman denied that any civilian passengers had been killed and said the group had only targeted coast guard and navy service members.
Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is Pakistan’s poorest province and the largest by landmass, with Islamist as well as ethnic Baloch separatists active there.
Pakistani security forces have been targeting insurgents in the province since 2004, and have also been repeatedly accused by international rights groups of abuses there. The military denies the allegations.
Provincial home minister Mir Zia Langov told AFP a full-scale investigation had been launched into the attack, and authorities are trying to track down the gunmen, who he said had fled the scene.