The Balochistan Liberation Front is claiming responsibility for the shooting deaths of at least 20 workers who were building a dam in Balochistan Province in southwestern Pakistan. Three other workers were wounded.
According to multiple news accounts, a large group of gunmen (as many as 40) overpowered security guards (paramilitary troops) at a dam construction site the night of April 10/morning of April 11 and shot at least 20 laborers. The site, in the Gobdan area of Turbat district, purportedly was targeted because construction of the dam is being financed by the Pakistani army.
The killings appear to have been targeted, the BBC reports, as all the workers killed were from outside Balochistan. Akbar Hussain Durran, a senior Balochistan official, told the AFP news agency that the laborers were lined up and shot after identifying themselves.
Multiple groups are fighting in the region of Balochistan, which borders Iran, including Taliban militants and Baloch separatists. Nationalist and separatist Baloch groups want a substantial share of the revenue from gas and mineral resources and complete autonomy from Islamabad, news agencies say. The army argues that it is fighting to keep Pakistan together, while separatists accuse army personnel of persecuting Baloch nationalists.
Frontier Corps troops are reported to be searching for the attackers.
The name of the dam being built has not been released, and it is not clear if it has a hydroelectric generating component.