Sunday, March 26, 2023

Gunmen kill scores of Hazara Shia coal miners in southwest Pakistan | Pakistan News

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The assailants identify minors from the Shiite Hazara minority community and take them for execution, leaving the others unharmed, the investigation suggests.

Gunmen opened fire on a group of Shia Muslim Hazara minority coal miners after kidnapping them, killing 11 people in southwestern Balochistan province, a Pakistani official said.

Moazzam Ali Jatoi, a Force Levies official who serves as a police and paramilitary in the area, said the attack took place on Sunday morning near the Mach coal field, about 48 km east of the capital. provincial, Quetta.

Jatoi said armed men took the coal miners to nearby mountains where they opened fire on them. He said six miners died on the spot and five others were seriously injured and died on the way to the hospital.

Jatoi said an initial investigation revealed that the attackers identified the miners as belonging to the Shiite Hazara community and took them for execution, leaving the others unharmed.

Local television footage showed security troops surrounding a desolate mountainous area diverting traffic and guiding ambulances to pick up the bodies.

Security forces have also been seen spilling into the mountains to search for the attackers.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned Sunni extremist group, has targeted the Hazara minority community in Balochistan province in the past.

Quetta is home to around 600,000 Hazara Shia Muslims, largely confined to two walled enclaves on either side of the city.

The enclaves are surrounded by high walls topped with barbed wire, and many checkpoints are manned by paramilitary personnel.

Community members have long complained that security restrictions have cut them off from the rest of the city, not allowing them to effectively run businesses or send their children to school.

Balochistan faces multifaceted threats from several armed groups, including the Taliban, which have targeted Shia Muslims and nationalist groups seeking independence for the province.

Attacks on workers in other provinces, especially those working on projects launched by China under a $ 62 billion investment plan, are common.

On December 26, armed men attacked a security post and killed seven soldiers in the Harnai district of the province.


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