Police targeted in southwest Pakistan bombing

At least one police officer killed and 17 other people hurt in attack on truck carrying security personnel in Quetta.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, although Quetta has seen frequent attacks targeting security personnel by armed ethnic Baloch separatist groups [Jamal Taraqai/EPA]

Islamabad, Pakistan – A large improvised explosive device explosion has killed at least one policeman and wounded 17 others in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, local officials say.

The blast targeted a police truck carrying security personnel at the gate of the University of Balochistan’s Quetta campus on Monday.

“One policeman was killed and 13 [policemen] were wounded in the blast, [and] four passersby were wounded,” said Javed Akhtar, a senior health official.

Those who were severely wounded were moved to a military hospital in the city, while the rest were treated at the city’s main government hospital, Akhtar said.

In a statement, the provincial counterterrorism department said the explosives were planted in a motorcycle and detonated by remote control when the police truck passed by.

Provincial government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani confirmed the death toll to Al Jazeera.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, although Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan province, has seen frequent attacks targeting security personnel by armed ethnic Baloch separatist groups.

Those groups have lodged a campaign of bombings and targeted killings against security forces and civilians for more than a decade, demanding greater rights, autonomy or independence for the ethnic Baloch majority areas of Balochistan province.

Pakistani security forces regularly conduct operations against those groups, and international human rights groups have documented widespread allegations of abuses in the Pakistani government’s war against ethnic Baloch separatists, including enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @Asad Hashim.

Additional reporting by Saadullah Akhtar in Quetta.

Source: Al Jazeera

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