A suicide blast in southwestern Pakistan Saturday injured at least six people, including three Chinese engineers, while unknown gunmen killed three policemen in a northern region bordering China.
Authorities in restive Baluchistan province confirmed a team of Chinese workers was returning from a mining project when the bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near their bus, just outside the town of Dalbandin.
The bus driver and two local paramilitary troops guarding the foreigners were also among those injured. Local officials said none of the victims received life-threatening injuries and they all “are in stable condition.”
Area police said that paramilitary forces were leading a search operation to look for suspected facilitators of the attack. A separatist group, called Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for the violence.
China condemned the attack on its citizen. The Chinese side has requested that the relevant Pakistani departments investigate the incident, bring the perpetrators to justice and take further effective measures to ensure the security of the Chinese institutions and citizens in Pakistan,” according to a Chinese embassy a statement.
Pakistan has leased out the mining project, known as the Saindak Copper-Gold Mine, to Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC). The mines are located in the Chaghi district, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
Natural resource-rich Baluchistan is the largest of four Pakistani provinces. Islamist militants and Baluch insurgents active in the province routinely carry out attacks against security forces and personnel working on state-owned projects there.
Lately, Islamic State also has claimed plotting attacks in Baluchistan, including some in the provincial capital of Quetta. The terrorist group also took responsibility for last year’s kidnapping and slaying of a Chinese couple visiting the city privately.
Baluchistan is at the center of bilateral massive multi-billion dollar cooperation deal known as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Pakistan’s military has raised a special force of thousands of personnel to guard the project and Chinese associated with it.
Violence in Gilgit-Baltistan
Separately, Pakistani officials in the northern Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region, which borders China, said that a group of heavily armed “terrorists” assaulted police post early morning and killed at least three security personnel. At least two police guards sustained injures.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which came days after suspected militants set fire to more than a dozen schools in GB’s Diamer district.
Gilgit-Balstistn is located on the highway linking Pakistan to China and it is set to serve as the main to transport goods between landlocked western Chinese region and the Chinese-built Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Baluchistan. The region is set to serve as the main route for transporting goods between landlocked western Chinese region and the Chinese-built Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Baluchistan being developed under CPEC.