Gunmen kill six Shiites in southwest Pakistan

Pakistani firefighters extinguish burning vechiles after a bomb explosion in Quetta on October 30, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Banaras KHAN

QUETTA, Pakistan: Gunmen shot dead six Shiite Muslims on Friday, officials said, in what appears to be the latest in a wave of sectarian attacks in Pakistan's troubled southwest.

The incident took place on a road in Muchh town, southeast of Quetta, the capital of the oil and gas rich Baluchistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan.

"The gunmen attacked a vehicle carrying eight Shiites, who were returning to their work in coalmines, killing six of them and wounding another one," senior local administration official Waheed Shah told AFP.

He said the gunmen who were hiding along the roadside fled after the attack. Another local official, Mumtaz Khatran, confirmed the incident and casualties.

No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Baluchistan has been a focus for rising sectarian violence targeting Shiites, who make up around a fifth of Pakistan's predominantly Sunni Muslim population.

Two huge bomb attacks in Quetta in January and February targeting Shiites from the Hazara ethnic community killed nearly 200 people.

Baluch rebels have also been fighting since 2004 for political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region's natural oil, gas and mineral resources.





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