Suspected militants attacked a Rawalpindi-bound passenger train with rockets in Bolan district on Friday, killing at least two persons and injuring 32 more. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack that took place in the Dozan area near Machh.
“First the militants blew up the railway track with an improvised explosives device (IED) and then fired two rockets at Jaffar Express. One rocket hit a bogey and the other hit the engine. Soon after, the attackers opened indiscriminate fire on the train,” Deputy Commissioner Abdul Waheed Shah told The Express Tribune.
The casualties were shifted to state-run hospitals in Machh and Quetta.
“We have taken two dead bodies and over two dozen injured to the hospital, the condition of some of the injured was critical because of excessive bleeding,” local official Zubair Kurd told AFP, warning that the death toll could go up.
The Frontier Corps (FC) scrambled two helicopter gunships after the paramilitary troops guarding the train called in air support, Shah added. “The gunships targeted the attackers, killing some of the attackers.” However, Shah wouldn’t say how many. Later, the paramilitary force’s spokesperson claimed in a statement that six attackers were killed in the air blitz.
Railway staff repaired the track within two hours and opened it for regular traffic.
The attack took place despite the security provided by the FC and Balochistan Levies throughout the province.
The provincial spokesperson for Pakistan Railways, Mohammad Kashif, told The Express Tribune that six railways employees, including three policemen, were also injured in the attack.
Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch condemned the attack and ordered the district administration to submit the investigation report.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The latest attack came nine days after gunmen disguised as security personnel killed 11 civilians and two security men after kidnapping them from Punjab-bound passenger coaches also near Machh Town. The banned Baloch Liberation Army had claimed responsibility for the killings.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2013.