At least 11 dead in SW Pakistan bus explosion: Officials

AFP , Monday 19 Oct 2015

Pakistan explosion
Pakistan rescue workers surround a passenger bus after a blast in Quetta, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015 (Photo: AP)

At least 11 people were killed and many more wounded on Monday when a powerful bomb exploded in a passenger bus in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, local officials said.

The explosion came as night fell and labourers working in central Quetta left for their homes on the outskirts of the city, which has frequently been targeted by Islamists and separatist insurgents.

"The death toll from the bus explosion is 11, while 22 people are injured," Akbar Hussain Durrani, home secretary of Baluchistan province, told AFP.

A senior police official and a doctor at the city's main hospital confirmed the causalities.

Chaotic scenes unfolded in the emergency department of Provincial Sandeman Hospital as the dead and wounded were brought in, their blood staining stretchers and beds, as panicked relatives clamoured for help.

"My brother is a labourer, he was in the bus where the bomb exploded," Ali Bukhsh told AFP.

"We were waiting for him at dinner but he did not arrive... then we learnt about the blast and ran to the hospital," he said, adding that his brother has regained consciousness but is still in severe pain.

Doctor Noor Baluch, a police surgeon, said 10 people were already dead by the time their bodies arrived, while 23 others had been wounded.

"Later an injured person died in hospital. Four of the wounded people are still in critical condition," he said.

Durrani said the bus was loaded with labourers, but could not give any further details on how the explosion was detonated.

"We suspect somebody had hidden a bomb in the backside of the bus, but there is also a chance that somebody was maybe carrying it," Durrani said.

Senior police official Waheed Khatak told AFP the bomb exploded as the bus was driving near a fly-over in the Sariab road neighbourhood outside Quetta.

Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, is rife with Islamic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies.

The mineral-rich province has long been targeted by militants, and has been the scene of several attacks against the Hazara Shia community in recent years.

Baluch separatists demanding more autonomy and control over gas and mineral resources have frequently attacked security forces, although there has been a lull this year after a police clampdown.

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