Pakistan bus raids: Balochistan gunmen kill at least 20

Gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province have attacked two buses, killing at least 20 passengers, officials have said.

Two buses in Pakistan have been attacked by armed attackers in a region where separatists have been fighting an insurgency for decades. At least 20 people were killed and more than two dozen kidnapped.

Around 20 armed attackers stormed two buses in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province on Friday. Officials said 21 passengers were killed and at least 25 were taken by the gunmen into the mountains.

Baluchistan’s Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said the gunmen released 50 passengers during the attack. “The armed men were wearing the uniforms of the security forces,” Sarfaraz Bugti said. He added that security forces had fought with the gunmen, and rescued six passengers, one of whom was wounded.

Baluchistan’s Information Minister Abdur Rahim Ziaratwal said the gunmen left the bodies of the 21 dead behind as they escaped deeper into the mountains.

The buses were traveling from the Baluchistan capital, Quetta, to Karachi on the southern coast.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but Baluch separatists demanding greater autonomy for the region have been fighting an insurgency for years. The province is also divided by sectarian and Islamist violence.

Also on Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a stadium in Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province, where a cricket match was underway between Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Information Minister Pervez Rashid said police had prevented the bomber from getting closer to the stadium. But the bomber set off the explosives, killing one police officer and wounding six others.

Pashtun victims

An operation was launched after reports of the incident emerged, and at least five people have been rescued, officials say.

However, the number of passengers abducted from on board remains unclear,Dawn newspaper reports.

Fighting is ongoing in the area between the attackers and security forces.

Those killed were mostly ethnic Pashtuns. They are natives of northern Balochistan.

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