Gunmen kill six laborers in SW Pakistan — police

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Updated 04 May 2018
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Gunmen kill six laborers in SW Pakistan — police

  • “Unidentified gunmen shot dead six laborers and wounded another, who is in critical condition,” local government official Hashim Ghilzai said
  • The murders took place overnight in Lajjay, where Islamist militants — including the Taliban — and ethnic Baloch separatists are active

QUETTA, Pakistan: Unknown gunmen shot dead six laborers in a remote southwestern Pakistani town, officials said Friday, in the latest bout of violence to rock the restive region.
The murders took place overnight in Lajjay, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, where Islamist militants — including the Taliban — and ethnic Baloch separatists are active.
“Unidentified gunmen shot dead six laborers and wounded another, who is in critical condition,” local government official Hashim Ghilzai told AFP.
The laborers, from eastern Punjab province, were working on a mobile tower and were sleeping in tents at the site when the gunmen attacked, Ghilzai said, adding that “it appeared to be an act of terror.”
Local security official Tariq-ur-Rehman confirmed the incident and casualties.
No group has claimed responsibility for the killings, but Balochistan is home to a long-running ethnic Baloch insurgency aimed at seeking greater control over the province’s abundant mineral resources.
Separatist militants have previously targeted ethnic Punjabi and Sindhi laborers, who are largely considered outsiders in many parts of the province and viewed with deep suspicion.
Hundreds of soldiers and militants have been killed since the insurgency flared up in the mid-2000s.
Pakistan also regularly accuses its eastern neighbor India of funding and arming the separatist insurgents — a charge some analysts say is payback for Pakistan’s alleged backing of separatists in the Indian-administered part of the Kashmir region.
Balochistan, a desperately-poor province, is also riven by sectarian violence, with Sunni Islamist militants attacking Shiites, especially ethnic Hazaras.


More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

Updated 6 min 7 sec ago
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More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

  • Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday
  • The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban

DURBAN: At least 60 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have fled their homes after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides along South Africa’s eastern coast, authorities said on Wednesday.
Most of the deaths were in KwaZulu-Natal province. Flooding also killed at least three people in neighboring Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said.
The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban. Multiple dwellings collapsed in mudslides, said Robert McKenzie, a KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman.
Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday.
Victor da Silva, a resident of the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to evacuate before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
“On Monday, the water was just crazy. And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining,” Da Silva said. “And then an hour and a half later, everything poof (vanished) because the rain just hasn’t stopped.
Authorities in southern Tanzania ordered evacuations of residents from low-lying areas and the closure of schools and offices ahead of landfall of Tropical Cyclone Kenneth on neighboring Mozambique’s coast on Thursday.
“We’ve decided to evacuate all residents of valleys and other low-lying areas and we advise them to seek refuge at public spaces,” Mtwara regional commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa, told reporters.
Johan Fourie said he fled his home in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu-Natal, just before part of it collapsed.
“I nearly lost my life, and my neighbor, I believe, is in hospital,” Fourie told eNCA television.
The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not foresee the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said.
Some people were swept away by the water, he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday and was expected in the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” he said.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.