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2 Navy sailors gunned down in Gwadar shooting

Updated June 19, 2017

Two Navy sailors were martyred and at least three others were wounded when their vehicle was attacked in the Jiwani area of Gwadar district, Balochistan on Monday.

The sailors were transporting iftar items during a routine run from Jiwani city when their vehicle was ambushed by four assailants on two motorbikes, a senior local administration official told DawnNews.

The assailants opened fire on the vehicle indiscriminately, leaving one man martyred and five wounded, he said.

A spokesman for the Navy, however, said that three personnel had been injured.

The five wounded were shifted to Karachi for medical treatment. One of the wounded succumbed to his injuries, bringing the death toll to two, the official added.

Security was tightened after the incident and a search operation was launched in the area to apprehend those involved in the attack.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri condemned the incident and directed the levies and police to submit a report regarding the attack.

"We will not bow down before the terrorists," Zehri said in his condemnation statement.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Security challenges facing Balochistan and CPEC

The shooting incident occurs after Pakistan and China have inked agreements aimed at boosting cooperation in various sectors between the two countries.

China is also developing the warm water Gwadar port, a prominent feature of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan. The CPEC project — with an investment of $57 billion and the Gwadar port as its lynchpin — is billed to be a 'game-changer' and manifestation of a strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.

Though the road where the labourers were working was not a specific CPEC-funded project, it was a part of a network of connecting roads that are part of the corridor ─ a common target for separatists militants who view construction projects as a means to take over their land.

The need to tighten security in Balochistan has grown over the years as separatist militants continue to wage their campaign against the central government for decades, demanding a greater share of the gas-rich region's resources.

In May, at least 10 labourers were killed in Balochistan's Gwadar district when unidentified assailants opened fire at the construction site where they were working, Levies sources said.

Unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on a group of labourers working at a road in Gwadar's Pishgan area, killing eight of them on the spot, Levies sources confirmed.

Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui.