QUETTA: A bomb planted in a rickshaw tore through a vehicle used by security forces in southwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 12 people, police said.
The remotely detonated bomb containing around 100 kilos of explosives targeted a truck carrying members of a government paramilitary force on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of restive Baluchistan province.
Baluchistan, Pakistan’s largest but most undeveloped province, is wracked by Islamist and sectarian violence as well as a long-running insurgency waged by separatists, and attacks on security forces are common.
“At least 12 people have been killed, 11 of them were security personnel,” senior police official Fayyaz Sumbal said. “The bomb was planted in a rickshaw (tricycle). The target was a truck of Baluchistan Constabulary which was carrying the security personnel.”
A further 11 people were wounded in the attack, he said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Television footage showed the burnt-out remains of the rickshaw and truck almost completely destroyed by the blast in an open area on the edge of the dusty, low-rise city.
Bomb disposal officer Abdul Raazaq confirmed the incident and the size of the bomb.
Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, has significant reserves of gas and other resources, but development has been limited by the volatile security situation.
Ten days ago the provincial police chief narrowly escaped a suicide car bomb attack outside his home in Quetta that killed at least six people and wounded 46 others.
The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party of incoming prime minister Nawaz Sharif looks set to form a coalition government in the Baluchistan provincial assembly following a general election on May 11.
Hopes were voiced last week that a coalition between PML-N and nationalist parties could quell some of the long-held grievances in the province about its treatment by the federal government.