Separatist gunmen in restive western Pakistan have killed at least 20 dam workers at a construction site, reportedly attacking the men as they slept.
Gunmen in restive western Pakistan shot and killed at least 20 workers at a dam construction site, the deadliest attack targeting civilians in recent times in a region that is facing a low-level insurgency, local authorities said.
The violence targeted the Gobdan area of southwestern Baluchistan province’s Turbat district. The region has seen nationalist and separatist Baluch groups fight against Islamabad-based government forces for years.
However, no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Pakistan, a country that faces a deadly Taliban insurgency and threats from other Islamic extremists.
A large group of gunmen attacked a labour camp near the dam construction site, overpowering eight security guards on the site and shooting dead sleeping labourers before fleeing, government commissioner Pasand Khan Buledi of the Makran division said.
Buledi gave the casualty figure and said the attack wounded three people. He added that 16 of the dead were from Pakistan’s Punjab province and four were from Sindh province.
Baluchistan government spokesman Jan Mohammad Buledi said a search operation was under way to catch the fleeing attackers. He said the government would offer the families of the deceased 1 million rupees (nearly £7,000) each.
Baluchistan is the scene of a low-intensity insurgency by separatists who want substantial share of revenue from gas and mineral resources and complete autonomy from Islamabad. Islamic militants also operate in the area.
It was the deadliest recent attack to target civilians in the region. In September 2012, 10 labourers and five tribesmen in a labour camp were gunned down in the province’s Khuzdar district.