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Gunman kill journalists in SW Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan: Gunman opened fire on the offices of a domestic private news agency in southwest Pakistan Thursday, killing three people including two journalists, officials said.

The incident occurred in Quetta, the capital of the restive oil- and gas-rich Baluchistan province that borders Iran and Afghanistan.

"A gunman entered the offices of the Online news agency and began firing indiscriminately, killing the bureau chief, named Irshad Mastoi, and accountant on the spot," provincial home secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani told AFP.

He said the third victim, a reporter, sustained serious injuries and died of his wounds in the hospital.

City police chief Abdul Razaq Cheema also confirmed the incident and casualties.

No group has claimed the attack and the motive remains unclear.

Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its annual report released February, with Baluchistan a hotspot for violence.

Seven reporters were killed in the line of duty in 2013, the report said, blaming the government's "unwillingness to administer justice".

Four of the deaths occurred in Baluchistan, which is wracked by a long-running separatist conflict that was revived in 2004, with nationalists seeking to stop what they see as the exploitation of the region's natural resources and alleged rights abuses.

 

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