Friday 20 April 2018

Gunmen massacre 20 at dam project

Pakistani paramilitary troops patrolling a street in Quetta, Balochistan Credit: Reuters
Pakistani paramilitary troops patrolling a street in Quetta, Balochistan Credit: Reuters

Gul Yousufzai

Gunmen have attacked a dam site in Pakistan's south-western Baluchistan province, killing at least 20 workers and wounding three.

A large group of gunmen attacked a work camp near the construction site in the Gobdan area of district Turbat, overpowered eight security guards and shot sleeping labourers before fleeing.

Rebels have been fighting a low-intensity insurgency in the province for decades, demanding an end to what they see as the exploitation of their resources by people from other parts of Pakistan.

The workers killed at a construction site 15 km from the town of Turbat were mostly from outside Baluchistan which suggested the Baluch rebels were responsible, said provincial interior minister Akbar Hussain Durrani.

"All were sleeping in their camp when they were targeted," he said.

Three wounded survivors said the gunmen opened fire on the sleeping men with automatic weapons, then escaped on motorcycles, he said.

A man claiming to be a spokesman for the banned Baluch Liberation Army called local reporters and said his group had carried out the attack as a reprisal for military operations in the area.

The separatists frequently kidnap and kill civilians from other parts of the country and also attack gas facilities, infrastructure and security posts.

Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran is Pakistan's poorest and most thinly populated province.

Human rights groups say the security agencies often arrest ethnic Baluch, torture them and dump their bodies in a policy that has become known as "Kill and Dump."

Some families say that children as young as 11 have been arrested and their bodies later found in shallow graves.

Baluchistan is also home to Taliban insurgents, drug smugglers, kidnapping rings, sectarian militants, and government-backed paramilitary death squads.


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