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Pakistan: Gunmen who kidnapped and killed bus passengers will be ‘punished’ vows country’s PM | World News

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Masked gunmen who killed nine people after abducting them from a bus in southwest Pakistan are being hunted by police as the country’s prime minister vowed they would be “punished”.

The gang had earlier shot dead two more people and wounded six others in a car, when they failed to stop at a makeshift roadblock.

The deadly kidnapping happened on Friday in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, where separatists have been battling for independence.

Ambulance carry bodies of people who were killed by gunmen, arrives at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, Saturday, April 13, 2024. Pakistani police are searching for gunmen who killed eight people after abducting them from a bus on a highway in the country's southwest, a police official said Saturday. Earlier, the same attackers killed two people and wounded six in another car they forced to stop. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)
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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the deadly attack. Pic: AP

Speaking on Saturday, district deputy commissioner Habibullah Mosakhail said the gunmen set up a blockade, then stopped the bus and went through the passengers’ identity cards.

They took nine people hostage, all from the eastern Punjab province.

The bus was heading from the provincial capital of Quetta to Taftan, a town bordering Iran.

Police later found the victims’ bullet-riddled bodies under a bridge about three miles from the road.

They had been shot at close range.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack, expressing his “deep sorrow and regret over this shocking incident”.

He offered his condolences to the families of the victims and said he stood by them in their grief, according to a statement from his office.

“The perpetrators of this incident of terrorism and their facilitators will be punished,” he added.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killings.

Police said there was no ransom demand and no indication of a motive.

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Separatist ethnic Baloch militant groups in the mineral-rich region have been fighting for decades against the state, arguing it denies them their fair share of its resources.

The insurgents have previously claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the region.

They have also targeted Chinese citizens and their interests with Beijing investing heavily in regional development projects.

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