Gunmen shot dead four policemen — including a sub-inspector — in a targeted attack in a troubled suburb of the provincial capital on Saturday.
The gunmen riding motorcycles pulled up near a police mobile van parked near a post office on Mullah Abdul Salam Road in the Pashtoonabad neighbourhood and shot dead all those on board, according to Abdul Razaq Cheema, the capital city police officer (CCPO).
“There were four gunmen and they were riding two motorcycles. They approached the police van and opened fire with 9mm pistols,” CCPO Cheema told The Express Tribune. The gunmen fled the scene unidentified and unchallenged before a police contingent reached the site.
The fatalities were ferried to the Combined Military Hospital for autopsies where they were identified as Sub Inspector Ali Muhammad, Abdullah (driver) and constables Abdullah and Ataullah.
The funeral of the slain policemen was held in the Police Line where Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti, Chief Secretary Saifullah Chatta, Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani, CCPO Cheema and senior civil and military officials were in attendance.
Home Minister Bugti said Balochistan was in a state of war and the police were sacrificing their lives in this war. “We pay tribute to the brave policemen who were killed in the targeted attack. Security forces have mounted a manhunt for the killers,” he told journalists.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Several Baloch separatist groups have been waging a low-profile insurgency in Balochistan since 2006. They routinely target security personnel, non-Baloch settlers and dissenting Baloch in the province.
In other violence, unidentified men hurled a hand grenade into the house of a retired officer of the Balochistan High Court in the Arbab Ghulam Ali Road area of Quetta. The grenade attack on the house of Bashir Ahmed did not cause any casualties, though. It was not clear who threw the grenade and why.
Elsewhere in the restive province, at least four tribesmen were killed and five injured in a bloody clash between rival groups of Muhammad Hassni tribe in the Kapoor area of Awaran district on Saturday.
“It wasn’t immediately known what triggered the gunfight, though the two tribes have been at dagger drawn since long,” an official at the Deputy Commissioner Office in Awaran told The Express Tribune by the phone. The casualties were shifted to the Civil Hospital where the dead were identified as Daulat, Peer Muhammad, Peer Bakhsh and Rehman.
Police are security forces rushed to the area to bring the situation under control. A tense calm prevails in the region which has been wrecked by the Baloch insurgency. A massive earthquake had flattened much of Awaran in September 2013 and most of the infrastructure could not be rebuilt due to the volatile security situation in the district.
Meanwhile, two men were injured in a landmine blast in the Suhbat Pur area of Jaffarabad district. “Jamsheed and Khalid were riding a motorbike when it hit a landmine planted by a roadside suspected militants,” a security official told The Express Tribune by telephone.
Both men received multiple wounds and were driven to the District Headquarters Hospital where medics said their wounds were not life-threatening.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2015.