At least 14 bus passengers have been killed by gunmen in Pakistan's Balochistan, in the latest attack claimed by separatists in the restless south-western province, AFP has reported citing officials on Thursday April 18th.
The attackers, estimated to be around two dozen, were wearing uniforms of the paramilitary Frontier Corps, provincial home secretary Haider Ali said.
They "stopped buses on the Makran Coastal Highway and gunned down 14 people,” he said, adding that the four vehicles were heading from the coastal town of Ormara to the port megacity of Karachi.
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.
A Baloch separatist group claimed responsibility for the attack, but its militant spokesman denied that any civilian passengers had been killed, saying 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.