Apr 18, 2019 15:29 UTC
  • Gunmen kill 14 after kidnapping them from buses in southwestern Pakistan

Heavily-armed assailants have shot dead at least 14 people after pulling them from several passenger buses in a remote area of Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, officials say.

The attack took place on the Makran coastal highway between Karachi and the Gwadar port in the troubled region early Thursday morning, they said.

Ziaullah Langove, home minister for Balochistan, said the passengers were killed after the attackers checked their identity cards and forced them out on the highway.

"Terrorists offloaded 14 persons from different buses after checking their NICs. They took them and killed them," Langove said, referring to Pakistani national identity cards.

The dead passengers had their legs and hands tied and were found close to the town of Ormara, about halfway between Karachi and Gwadar, he added.

Hours after the ambush, the little-known separatist group Baloch Raji Aajoi Sangar claimed responsibility for the latest assault. 

Its spokesman, Baluch Khan, denied any civilian passengers had been killed and claimed that the group had only targeted coast guard and navy service members.

"Those who were targeted carried cards of the Pakistan Navy and Coast Guards, and they were only killed after they were identified," the statement read.

The Pakistani Navy said its sailors and officers who were traveling to work were among the slain men.

The attack drew nationwide condemnation and Prime Minister Imran Khan called it "an act of terror." The premier later ordered authorities "to make every possible effort to identify and to bring the perpetrators of the barbaric act to justice."

The latest attack came less than a week after a bomb blast claimed by a Takfiri terrorist group in the provincial capital of Quetta killed 20 people, mostly Hazara Shia Muslims.