QUETTA: At least nine Pakistani security personnel were killed and nine injured in a suicide attack in southwestern Balochistan province on Monday morning.
Samiullah Agha, deputy commissioner of the Kacchi district where the attack took place, told Arab News that a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden motorbike into a truck carrying personnel to the provincial capital of Quetta after they had policed a festival.
“Nine soldiers of the Balochistan Constabulary force were killed in the attack and nine injured after their truck was hit near the Kumbri bridge that connects Sibi with Kacchi district,” Agha said, adding that the bomb disposal squad confirmed it was a suicide attack.
Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province by area and has been the scene of a decades-long insurgency by separatists who are demanding independence from the country, citing what they say is the state’s monopoly and exploitation of the region’s mineral resources.
No group claimed responsibility in the wake of the attack, which Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo said was an “attempt to keep Balochistan backward and deprived.”
It is the latest in a number of recent attacks on Pakistani security forces, highlighting a deteriorating security situation in the country since Pakistan’s Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, called off a ceasefire with the government in November.
At least four people were killed in February after TTP militants stormed the police headquarters in the southern city of Karachi.
At 100 people — mostly police officials — died in January after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque inside a heavily guarded police compound in the northwestern city of Peshawar.