(dpa) - A group of armed gunmen attacked a convoy of deminers in relatively peaceful northern Afghanistan, killing five workers and wounding another seven, the director of the demining organization said on Monday.
The attack took place in Afghanya area, near Sheberghan city, the capital of northern Jawzjan province on Sunday afternoon, Kefayatullah Eblagh, director of Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC), an Afghan demining non governmental organization said.
"The gunmen attacked one of the four-vehicle convoy by small arms fire," Eblagh told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. He said five men - a section leader, three deminers and a driver - were killed and seven others were wounded in the attack.
The workers were on their way to their base from a minefield, the head of UN-funded organization said, adding that the other three vehicles turned back and fled the area following the shootout.
No group claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack in an area where Taliban-led insurgents are not active. The area is, however, known for thieves and armed militias who were involved in Afghanistan's civil war and fought against Taliban militants in the 1990s.
More than three decades of conflict, including the war with Soviet Union troops, has left Afghanistan contaminated with millions of mines and unexploded ordnances.
Hundreds of Afghans are employed by several demining organizations to remove the mines that kill or maim hundreds of people every year.