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Asia-pacific

Ten killed in bus ambush in Baluchistan province

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-14

At least 10 people were killed on Saturday when gunmen ambushed a bus in the south-western Pakistani province of Baluchistan, a region plagued by sectarian violence.

AFP - Gunmen attacked a passenger bus and shot dead at least 10 people in insurgency-hit southwest Pakistan, officials said on Saturday.

The incident took place in Aab-e-Gum area, 75 kilometres (47 miles) southeast of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas rich Baluchistan province, on Friday night.

"A group of 30-35 gunmen stopped the bus in Aab-e-Gum area, off-loaded passengers at gunpoint and shot dead 10 of them," top provincial home department official Akbar Hussain Durrani told AFP.

He said the bus was travelling to Quetta from the eastern city of Lahore and all those killed in the attack were Punjabi-speaking people.

A senior local official in Aab-e-Gum area, Ismail Kurd, also confirmed the incident and casualties.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Violence has recently surged in Baluchistan which borders both Afghanistan and Iran.

US-based charity Mercy Corps in June shut 40 of its offices in Baluchistan and four in neighbouring Sindh, citing serious security concerns following the killing of one of its drivers.

Three Mercy Corps aid workers and their driver were kidnapped in February in Qila Saifullah district, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) northwest of Quetta.

The driver was killed but the aid workers were released in July in good health after a five-month ordeal following negotiations between their kidnappers and tribal elders.

An official said at the time they were kidnapped by a criminal gang.

The province is rife with Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between majority Sunnis and minority Shiite Muslims and regional insurgency.

Baluch rebels rose up in 2004 demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region's wealth of natural resources, including oil and gas. Hundreds of people have died since then.
 

Date created : 2010-08-14

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