Deadly Bomb Hits Gas Surveyors in Southwestern Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — A roadside bomb explosion in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province Saturday killed at least one person and injured 14 others.

Officials said the attack targeted surveyors from a major, private gas-producing company and Pakistani security forces escorting them in the Harnai district, 170 kilometers (106 miles) northeast of the provincial capital of Quetta.

Javed Domki, the district deputy commissioner, confirmed the casualties to VOA by phone. He said the injured were airlifted to a Quetta military hospital, where some of them were in “critical condition.”

Several personnel of Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps force were among the victims, he said.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the bombing in turbulent Baluchistan, which is rich in natural resources.

The Pakistani province has experienced a surge in insurgent attacks in recent days. The so-called Baluch Liberation Army, an outlawed group, has claimed credit for plotting much of the violence.

Last week, ethnic Baluch insurgents assaulted a key Pakistan naval air base and a government complex in the Turbat and Gwadar districts, respectively. The ensuing clashes killed several security personnel and a dozen insurgents in both attacks.

Gwadar is home to a China-run, deep-water Arabian Sea port, central to a multibillion-dollar bilateral collaboration under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, an extension of Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure program.

Thousands of Chinese engineers and laborers are associated with CPEC and other Chinese-funded projects in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, a suicide car bombing in a northwestern mountain Pakistan region killed five Chinese engineers and their local driver.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Pakistani officials suspect militants linked to an Afghanistan-based terrorist group, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, was behind it.

The TTP distanced itself from the bombing, saying its violence campaign targets only Pakistani security forces.

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