Published: Thu, April 18, 2019

Gunmen kill 14 passengers after hijacking bus in Pakistan

Gunmen kill 14 passengers after hijacking bus in Pakistan

At least 14 people were lined up and executed in southwestern Pakistan after gunmen ambushed a bus and forced the passengers onto a highway early Thursday, officials said.

Gunmen offloaded passengers from buses and shot them dead in southwest Balochistan province, local media report.

Dashti said the passengers targeted in the attack were killed after the assailants checked their identity cards but he could not confirm if all the slain were Punjabis.

They "stopped buses on the Makran Coastal Highway and gunned down 14 people", he said, adding that the four vehicles were travelling to Karachi from the coastal town of Ormara. Rescue teams moved the bodies of the victims to a Navy hospital in Ormara for the identification process.

He also said it is unclear who was behind the killings and what their motive was.

Little is known about the newly formed separatist Baloch Raji Aajoi Sangar group, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

Prime Minster Imran Khan also condemned the killings in a statement from his office.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal condemned the incident and offered his condolences to the victims' families.

An investigation into the incident has been launched.

"He directed the authorities concerned to make every possible effort to identify and bring the perpetrators of the barbaric act to justice".

He termed the attack as "an act to build a conspiracy to halt progress in Balochistan and tarnish the state's image".

President Dr Arif Alvi also condemned the "cowardly terrorist attack".

Meanwhile, reacting to the attack, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry stated that recent terrorist attacks seem to be conducted under a planned pattern.

Violence in Pakistan has dropped significantly since the country's deadliest-ever terrorist attack, an assault on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2014 that killed more than 150 people - majority children.

The deceased included eight members of the Hazara community and soldier of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC).

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