17 killed as fuel station attacked in SW Pakistan
At least 17 people including five women and three children were killed and several others injured when a fuel station was attacked by unknown gunmen in Pakistan's southwest town of Khuzdar on Friday afternoon, Xinhua reported according to local media.
Quoting unidentified official sources, Ajj News reported that some unknown gunmen driving a car opened fire at the fuel station when a passenger van stopped there for refueling in Khuzdar area, a main town in the country's southwest province of Balochistan.
There were an estimated 16 people including women and kids on the van which was heading towards Qambar area from Khuzdar. Eight passengers were killed on the spot while a dozen others including fuel station staff and passersby were shifted to hospital, where nine of them later succumbed to serious burnt injuries.
Some of the bullets hit petrol drums which caused a huge fire, engulfing fuel station, the passenger van, two motorbikes and four neighboring shops.
The fire was later extinguished by paramilitary troops and fire fighters. No group claimed responsibility for the attack yet. The attackers fled towards unidentified direction following the incident and the police are clueless about them yet.
The identities of the victims have not been determined yet, but in similar incidents in the past, passenger vans were targeted in Balochistan on the basis of sectarian confrontation.
Talking to media few hours before the incident, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that militants are targeting innocent people and law enforcement institutions in the province.
He held separatist political group Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) responsible for unrest and deteriorating law and order situation in Balochistan.