Da’ish claims responsibility for killing 11 coal miners in Machh

Assailants abducted miners and took them to nearby hills in remote area of Bolan district

Mohammad Zafar/Reuters January 03, 2021
The labourers were kidnaped from a coal mine in Mach and taken to the nearby hills where they were shot at. PHOTO: FILE


Eleven coal miners were killed after unidentified men kidnapped and later slaughtered them at the Mach coalfield of Bolan district, around 80km away from Quetta in Balochistan on Sunday.

Four other miners were seriously injured.

According to officials, the miners shared a residential room near the coal mine where they worked.

"Dead bodies of the 11 miners have been taken to a local hospital," Khalid Durrani, a government official in the area, told AFP.

The attack, before dawn on Sunday, took place in the far-flung and mountainous Mach area while the miners slept, Durrani said.

Islamic State, also known as Da’ish, later claimed responsibility for the attack, through its Amaq news agency via its Telegram communications channel.

A security official told AFP the attackers first separated the miners, tied their hands and feet, took them out into the hills and later killed them.

All the victims belong to Hazara Community of Quetta. Durrani said the mine was deep in the mountains.

Abid Salim, a top government official in the area, told AFP "they tied their hands and feet and brutally slaughtered them with some sharp instrument". Some of the victims were beheaded, he added.

The assailants fled after the attack. Both officials said police and members of the local paramilitary force were on the scene, where a search operation had been launched to trace the attackers.

The bodies were shifted to Mach Hospital and later to Quetta Civil Hospital.

The families of the victims along with the bodies and the locals staged a protest at Quetta-Sukkur Highway near Mach town suspending the vehicular traffic on the artery connecting Balochistan with Punjab and Sindh.

The protestors demanded a swift response from the government to the killings and sought protection.

They ended their protest after three hours following successful talks with the district administration.

The law enforcement agencies have tightened security in the area in order to avert any untoward situation.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack as a "cowardly inhumane act of terrorism".

“The condemnable killing of 11 innocent coal miners in Mach Balochistan is yet another cowardly inhuman act of terrorism,” the premier said in a tweet.

“Have asked Frontier Constabulary to use all resources to apprehend these killers and bring them to justice,” he said.


Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal censured the terrorist attack and sought an inquiry report from the authorities concerned.

In a statement, the Balochistan CM vowed to take the culprits to task and stated that the attempt to derail peace in the province will not be allowed.

Balochistan Government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani noted that the incident was an act of terrorism.

"Investigative institutions are probing the incident from every angle to determine who is responsible for this," he said.

"The situation was satisfactory hence this incident wasn't expected," he said, adding that the area where the killings took place was quite big.

He said the security in the area will be increased after assessing the situation and asserted that those responsible for the incident will be brought to the book.

Federal Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz denounced the incident and linked it to Pakistan's external enemies.

The minister stated that the support being lent by the rejected political sections of the country to the enemies' activities either consciously or unconsciously was also disconcerting.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the incident and termed the killings of innocent labourers as the worst form of terrorism.

Bilawal expressed his sympathies with the family members of the victims and prayed for the departed souls.

“Terrorism should be condemned by every Pakistani. [I] urge the government to take action and provide protection to the workers in the coalfields,” Bilawal said in a statement.

He asked the federal as well as Balochistan government to provide compensation to the families of victims and ensure that such incidents do not occur again.

Provincial Home Minister Mir Zia Langove noted that an unsuccessful attempt had been made to sabotage peace in Balochistan.

“No stone should be left unturned in the arrest of the accused,” he said. “An unsuccessful attempt is being made to sabotage the peace of the province,” the home minister added.

Langove stated that state terrorism was unacceptable in every form. The elements involved in the incident do not deserve any concessions, he stressed.

Federal Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz also condemned the incident and linked it to Pakistan's external enemies.

Moreover, the minister stated that the support being lent by the rejected political sections of the country to the enemies' activities either consciously or unconsciously was also concerning.

With input from AFP/Reuters


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