Gunmen in Pakistan butcher 21 passengers
KABUL (Pajhwok): Gunmen kidnapped around two dozen passengers from two coaches and killed at least 21 of them in Mastung district of Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan province, on Friday night, Pakistani media reports.
But the Pakistan’s Dawn.com while quoting Mir Sarfaraz, home minister, as saying: “The armed men killed 19 of the passengers after taking them to the nearby mountains.” He said the attackers were dressed in security forces’ uniform.
He said that after receiving information security forces rushed to the area and pursued the kidnappers. “Security forces found the bodies of 19 passengers in the mountains,” he said, adding that security personnel succeeded in freeing five passengers from the kidnappers.
“Exchange of fire between security forces and the armed men continues in the mountains of Mastung,” he said.
He said the bodies had been shifted to hospital and efforts were being made to ascertain their identity.
He said the armed men signaled him to stop the bus and when he tried to speed away they opened indiscriminate fire.
The passengers, including labourers and traders, were coming from Pishin and Quetta and going to Karachi.
Balochistan Home Secretary retired Capt Akbar Hussain Durrani said the kidnappers had taken away about 30 passengers and later freed five of them at a distance from the road. “All the passengers belonged to Pishin district and were going to Karachi,” he said.
Heavy gun battle continued till late in the night. The federal government provided two helicopters for operation against kidnappers. They said that taking advantage of darkness, the kidnappers escaped from the area, taking the passengers along with them, and hide in the mountains.
“Over 15 armed men took away 25 passengers along with them to the mountains and when security forces chased them they shot dead 19 of them and injured one,” security officials said. They said the armed men checked the passengers’ national identity card before taking them away.
The drivers and conductors of the coaches were spared. After they informed the Mastung Levies Force about the incident, they rushed to the mountains. They were later joined by Frontier Corps, Balochistan Constabulary and police.
Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch condemned the killings and said he was monitoring the operation against the kidnappers.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, it reports.
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