Islamabad, March 6 (EFE).- At least nine policemen were killed and 14 others were wounded Monday in a suicide blast near a moving police van in the restive Balochistan province in southwestern Pakistan, police said.
The blast occurred on the Kambri Bridge in the area bordering Sibi and Kachhi districts, according to Afzal Khan, a police official at the provincial capital of Quetta.
“As per initial information the suicide bomber riding a motorcycle blew himself up near the police van,” Afzal Khan, a police official at Quetta police headquarters told EFE.
“As of now nine policemen have been martyred and 14 others are wounded,” he said, adding that three of those injured were in critical condition and had been moved to the Combined Military Hospital in Sibi.
Khan said that a bomb disposal team had reached the site of the incident, and an investigation was underway.
Video footage circulating on social and mainstream media showed a police truck turned upside down and several officers lying around along with some of their belongings.
The truck of the Balochistan Constabulary force was transporting the policemen back to Quetta from the Sibi cultural festival, where they had been deployed.
The Balochistan Constabulary is a department of the provincial police force that provides security at important events and in sensitive areas, including government buildings.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo condemned the incident, blaming it on terrorist elements.
“A conspiracy is being hatched to keep the province from progressing by creating unrest and instability,” he said in a statement.
As per the statement, a government helicopter has been sent to the site to transfer those injured to a Quetta hospital.
The blast was the latest in a series of attacks on security forces, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan provinces.
Since the government’s talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) broke down in November last year, the militant group has intensified its attacks in KP while separatist insurgents in Balochistan have also stepped up their activities in the province. EFE