Gunmen killed at least 15 people in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan on Thursday after ambushing a convoy of vehicles travelling on a major highway towards the country’s largest city Karachi.
The vehicles were travelling to Karachi from the port town of Gwadar when they were ambushed near the small town of Ormara, about 250km west of their destination.
The dead included security forces personnel who were accompanying the convoy, an official speaking on condition of anonymity told Aljazeera.
Zia Langove, provincial home minister in Balochistan, confirmed the details of the attack, adding it involved at least seven assailants armed “with rocket launchers and other heavy weapons”.
“The attack was carried out by between seven and eight attackers who fired at the convoy with rocket launchers and other heavy weapons. They escaped from the area,” he said.
Langove said the convoy of vehicles was carrying employees of the state-owned Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited. He said there were several wounded survivors but did not specify an exact figure.
The highway was temporarily shut down following the attack, as security forces launched a search operation in the area.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the incident was similar to previous assaults by armed ethnic Baloch separatist groups on convoys on the same stretch of highway.
In a separate development, at least six Pakistani soldiers were killed when in improvised explosive device attack on their vehicle convoy near the northwestern town of Razmak, in North Waziristan district, on Thursday, Pakistan’s military said in a brief statement.
The military did not provide any further details on that attack.