Insurgents kidnap, kill 11 travelers in southwestern Pakistan

islamabad, pakistan — Police in southwestern Pakistan said Friday that separatist militants blocked a national highway linking the country to Iran, kidnapped 11 travelers and then shot them all to death.  


The deadly late-night violence occurred in the Noshki district of the sparsely populated Baluchistan province.  


Habibullah Musakhail, the district deputy commissioner, confirmed the incident, saying a search by police and paramilitary forces later recovered the victims’ bodies from under a bridge. He added that nine passengers of a bus were among those killed.  


Police said that about a dozen armed men had blocked the highway. After checking the national identification cards, the attackers stopped a bus and took nine passengers to the nearby mountains, where they were fatally shot. 


Authorities said that the slain bus passengers were traveling from the provincial capital of Quetta to the border town of Taftan. They were identified as residents of Pakistan’s most populous province of Punjab. The identities of the other victims were not known immediately. 


No one claimed responsibility for the Friday night killings in Baluchistan, which is rich in natural resources. Several ethnic Baluch outlawed groups are active in the province and routinely target security forces as well as settlers from other parts of Pakistan.  


The so-called Baluch Liberation Army, or BLA, has taken credit for plotting many of the recent attacks. 


Last month, BLA militants attacked a key Pakistan naval airbase and a government complex in Baluchistan within days of each other. The ensuing clashes killed several security force members and about a dozen assailants in both attacks.

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