Gunmen kill at least 19 bus passengers in Pakistan

Pakistani paramedics treat an injured bus driver injured during an attack in Quetta

 Pakistani paramedics treat an injured bus driver injured during an attack in Quetta Photograph: Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images
Gunmen have killed at least 19 passengers they forced off buses travelling from the western Pakistani city of Quetta to Karachi on the southern coast, according to officials.
Sarfaraz Bugti, the home minister of Baluchistan province, where the attack took place, said the assault occurred late on Friday in the town of Mastung, about 40km south of Quetta.
“The armed men were wearing the uniforms of the security forces,” Bugti told Reuters. The bodies of 19 passengers had been found so far, he said.
Security officials said about 25 passengers were taken off two buses and an operation had been launched to find them. They said the bodies were discovered in nearby hills, but the circumstances of their deaths could not immediately be established and the motives of the assailants were unclear.
Separatists have been fighting a low-intensity insurgency in Baluchistan, of which Quetta is the capital, for decades. They are demanding an end to what they see as the exploitation of their resources by people from other parts of Pakistan
Islamist militants regularly attack civilian and military targets; earlier this month at least 43 commuters were killed on a bus in Karachi by a group that has declared allegiance to Islamic State. All of the victims in that attack were Ismailis from Pakistan’s minority Shi’ite community, but one security official said the Mastung incident was unlikely to have been a sectarian attack.
As well as the 19 deaths, one person was injured and five more people rescued unharmed.


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