Pakistan hunts for militants after 11 people killed in highway rampage

The incident took place in Baluchistan province, which has long been the scene of an insurgency by Baloch militants. (Photo/AFP)

Pakistani police are searching for suspected Baloch militants who killed 11 people in two separate incidents, including a mass abduction, on a highway in the country’s southwest, a police official said Saturday.

According to the police official, the abduction took place on Friday in Baluchistan province, which has long been the scene of an insurgency by separatists fighting for independence.

Deputy Commissioner Habibullah Mosakhail said the gunmen set up a blockade, then stopped the bus and went through the passengers’ ID cards.

They took eight people with them, all labourers from the eastern Punjab province, fleeing into the mountains, he said.

Police later recovered their bodies under a bridge about 5 kilometres (3 miles) from the highway.

In a separate incident, gunmen believed to be part of the same group that killed the labourers, opened fire on a passenger bus that did not stop, killing two people and injuring another five.

A search for the perpetrators was underway, Mosakhail said. The bus was heading from the provincial capital of Quetta to Taftan, a town bordering Iran.

Abductions are rare in Baluchistan, where militants usually target police forces and soldiers or infrastructure.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killings. Police said there was no ransom demand and no indication of a motive for the attacks.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the killings, vowing that the security forces will root out the "monster" of terrorism.

In a statement, he directed the security forces to use all resources to bring the perpetrators to justice.


Source: TRT