Nine killed, 20 others injured following shootout between police, armed gunmen
A shootout between police and armed gunmen killed nine people and injured 20 others in Balochistan province on Tuesday, police said.
The firefight occurred after three gunmen entered police offices in Loralai district and threw hand grenades. “Senior police officials were busy selecting candidates for different categories of civilian jobs when these terrorists entered the compound and hurled hand grenades,” said Balochistan police chief Mohsin Butt. “Police officials opened fire on them killing one of the terrorists,” he said, adding that the two remaining gunmen went into hiding in the building and later blew themselves up.
Three of those killed were policemen and six were civilian staff members, while 20 people were injured in the crossfire, Butt said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Baloch separatist groups and Islamist militants have attacked security forces in the province in the past.
Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest and poorest region, which borders Afghanistan and Iran and is rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies. Its residents have long complained that it does not receive a fair share of the profits made from its mineral wealth.
Violence in Pakistan has dropped significantly since the country’s deadliest-ever militant attack, an assault on a school in Peshawar in 2014 that killed more than 150 people, most of them children.