Armed Attackers Kidnap and Kill 11 Miners in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Armed men abducted and killed at least 11 coal miners in southwestern Pakistan early Sunday, officials said. All the victims were ethnic Hazaras, a minority Shiite group that has often been the target of Sunni extremists.

Four more miners were wounded and undergoing medical treatment, officials said.

Officials said the events took place in Machh, a small mining town in Baluchistan Province about 30 miles east of Quetta, the provincial capital. They said the attackers had blindfolded the miners, tied their hands behind their backs, and shot them at close range. Most also had their throats cut. The bodies were found early Sunday.

“Their clothes from the front were almost fully bloodstained,” Ali Raza, a Hazara activist who received the bodies in Quetta, said in a phone interview. “Bruises on bodies also suggest that they were dragged.”

Mir Ziaullah Langau, the home minister for Baluchistan Province, said that security forces were on high alert and searching for the attackers.

The southwestern province of Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest and poorest region, rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies. It borders both Iran and Afghanistan, and although sparsely populated it is rich in mineral and natural resources, including copper, gold and natural gas.

The local population has long complained that it is denied a proper share of the wealth generated by those resources, and separatists have waged a low-intensity insurgency for decades, demanding freedom from the federal government. Pakistani officials say the separatist groups have the backing of India, the country’s main rival.

The Taliban have also maintained sanctuaries in some parts of the province near the border with Afghanistan.

Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud contributed reporting.



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