GWADAR/QUETTA: Two boys were killed and four others, including a Chinese national, injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up targeting a vehicle carrying Chinese nationals in Gwadar on Friday evening.
Banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Majeed Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sources said the Chinese nationals, who were working on the under-construction East-Bay Expressway, were returning to their camp when the vehicle was hit by the blast.
“One Chinese national suffered minor injuries,” a police officer told Dawn.
Police officials said the incident occurred at around 7pm near Baloch Ward.
BLA claims responsibility for the blast
“Two boys were killed and four other people, including two children and a Chinese national, were injured,” Liaquat Ali Shahwani, a spokesman for the Balochistan government, said.
Police said it was a suicide attack and the vehicle carrying Chinese nationals was the target of the bomber.
Members of security forces rushed to the scene of bombing, cordoned off the area and took bodies and the injured to Gwadar district hospital.
“We received bodies of two children and three injured,” Dr Latif, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, told Dawn.
The children were playing near the East-Bay Expressway when the bomber detonated himself at the vehicle.
“Other Chinese nationals travelling on the vehicle remained safe and they were immediately taken to a safe place by security forces guarding the vehicle of Chinese nationals,” the sources said.
Members of security forces cordoned off the entire area after the blast.
The sources said that remains of the suicide attacker were found on the site of the blast.
The deceased were identified as Salman, 10, Salman Haider, 11. Three out of four injured included Kafa, 30, Aswad and Sameer Anwar 13.
The BLA identified the suicide attacker as Sarbland Baloch alias Umer Jan.
The interior ministry in a statement released in Islamabad said: “Today in the evening, in a cowardly attack, a convoy of Chinese nationals comprising three Chinese vehicles with integral security details of Pakistan army and police contingent was targeted on East Bay Expressway in Gwadar.
“The targeting took place along the coastal road near a Fishermen colony.
“A young boy ran out of the colony once the convoy reached there to target Chinese vehicles.”
Soldiers of Pakistan army in plainclothes rushed to intercept the boy; who immediately, exploded himself about 15-20 metres away from the convoy, it said.
According to the statement, both Pakistan and China recognise the threats posed to their cooperation and collaboration towards growth and development of their communities under the evolving regional environment. Cognisant of hostile designs, government of Pakistan is already undertaking a comprehensive review of security of Chinese nationals and is committed to ensuring their safe stay in Pakistan in this journey of progress.
“We reaffirm to our Chinese brothers our wholehearted endeavours to deal with these threats comprehensively. In this hour of distress, while we are saddened by injury to our Chinese brother and loss of innocent Pakistani children, both countries stand together firmly in defeating the inimical acts aiming to undermine our cooperation and friendship,” it said.
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2021