Pakistani-Security-checkpoint-afp=670
Pakistani security personnel search a car at a checkpoint in Balochistan in 2011. - File Photo by AFP

QUETTA: Unidentified gunmen in southwest Pakistan killed 18 people late Friday who were trying to illegally cross into neighboring Iran in three vehicles, officials said.

“Motorcycle riding gunmen stopped their vehicles and forced them to come out with their hands up. 18 people have been killed and two were injured,” Mohammad Aslam Tarin, a senior government official told AFP.

The incident took place in the far-flung Kechh district, some 1250 kilometres (780 miles) southwest of Quetta, the main town of Pakistan's insurgency hit Balochistan province, close to the Iranian border.

“We have started investigating but the motive of the attack is still unclear,” Tarin said, adding that rescue teams have been sent to the area to recover the dead bodies.

Gunmen managed to flee the scene, he added.

“These 20 people were trying to cross the border and wanted to enter Iran,” he said.

A tribal police official in the area confirmed the incident and death toll.

Though no group has yet claimed responsibility.

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