A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle rammed a police truck in Pakistan’s restive southwest, killing at least 10 policemen and injuring 12 officers, in one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in recent months. is one of the.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing of a bridge in Sibi district of Balochistan province, but previous such attacks have been blamed on Baloch separatists and local militants.
A local police chief, Mahmoud Notenzai, said officers were on routine patrol when the attack initially killed nine people. He said the casualties were taken to a nearby hospital, where one of the seriously injured policemen later succumbed to his injuries. Sibi is about 190 miles east of the provincial capital Quetta.
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The force of the explosion caused the truck to overturn, causing additional injuries, he said. Trucks often carry soldiers to Pakistan.
Notenzai said the officers who were attacked were posted last week in Sibi, where an annual cultural festival was being held amid tight security. An army helicopter was sent to airlift the seriously injured to a hospital in Quetta, where better health facilities are available.
Last year, a suicide bomber from the extremist Islamic State group targeted President Arif Alvi’s security convoy when he attended the Sibi festival. Alvi was far from the site of the bombing, in which five soldiers were killed. Later, IS terrorists claimed responsibility for that attack.
The festival has been celebrated for many centuries to mark the arrival of summer.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the attack. In a statement, he expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and ordered the health authorities to provide best medical facilities for the injured policemen. He said the attack was part of nefarious plans of the enemy to destabilize Pakistan and vowed to defeat terrorism.
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Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, the top elected official in Balochistan, also condemned the bombing.
“Terrorists who carry out such attacks are enemies of Pakistan,” he said. He said that he will not waver in the resolve of the country’s police.
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Balochistan has long been wracked by a low-level insurgency by the Balochistan Liberation Army and other smaller separatist groups seeking independence from the central government in Islamabad.
Authorities claim the insurgency has been quelled but violence remains. The province has also seen attacks by militants from both the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic State group.
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