Separatists kill 14 bus passengers in Baloch Pakistan
Gunmen killed at least 14 people after forcing them to disembark from buses in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province, officials said and AFP reported.
The attackers were wearing uniforms from the paramilitary Frontier Corps, provincial home secretary Haider Ali told AFP.
The gunmen “stopped buses on the Makran Coastal Highway and gunned down 14 people”, he said, adding that the vehicles were travelling to the port megacity of Karachi from the coastal town of Ormara.
While Al Jazeera said the provincial information minister Zahoor Buledi told the publication that the travellers were removed from the buses and taken to a second location, where they were shot dead. “They identified non-Baloch by checking their identity cards and employee cards,” said Buledi. “They took them to the nearby mountains and shot them dead after tying their hands.”
The attack comes less than a week after a suicide blast in provincial capital Quetta killed 20 people.
Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is Pakistan’s largest and poorest province, as well as the site of Islamist, sectarian and separatist insurgencies.
A naval official and a coast guard member were among those killed, Ali said.
The attack took place at an isolated location on the country’s main coastal highway, near the Hingol national park.
The Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), an alliance of armed ethnic Baloch separatist groups, claimed responsibility for the attack in an emailed statement released on Thursday.
“Those who were targeted carried [identification] cards of the Pakistan Navy and Coast Guards, and they were only killed after they were identified,” said Baloch Khan, a BRAS spokesperson.
Buledi said the government could not immediately confirm whether those killed were members of the security forces.