QUETTA, Feb 26: Twenty people were taken into custody on Sunday in connection with a rocket attack on the residence of a provincial minister on Saturday night that killed one person and injured eight others.

Police said three rockets had been fixed on the official residence of Livestock Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo in the Railway Housing Society. One rocket hit the guesthouse in the building, killing a villager who had come to Quetta for treatment and injuring eight others.

Another rocket landed in the house but it did not explode.

Mr Bizenjo himself was in Islamabad attending a course at the National Defence College along with another minister Asghar Rind.

Sources said that Mr Bizenjo’s father, a former provincial minister and deputy speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Mir Abdul Majeed Bizenjo, and other family members were in the house when it came under attack.

“One of the rockets exploded in the guesthouse — destroying its wall — where some guests were sleeping,” SSP Ghulam Mohammed Dogar said. He identified the deceased as Rehmat Jan.

“Assailants fired three rockets at close range,” the sources said, adding that the first rocket had missed the target.

Soon after the attack, gunmen guarding the house started firing in the air.

Senior officials of police and administration reached the place soon after the attack and shifted the victims to civil hospital. Heavy contingents of security agencies cordoned off the area.

Investigation has started and so far 20 suspects have been taken into custody during raids in different areas.

“They are suspects and police are interrogating them to trace the attackers,” SSP Dogar told Dawn.

He said all possible causes of the attack were being looked into, including the minister’s family enmity with other tribes in their native area.

Meanwhile, a caller identifying himself as Azad Baloch and spokesmen for the Baloch Liberation Army, told reporters that the BLA had carried out the attack.

Last year, the private residence of Chief Minister Jam Mir Mohammad Yousuf in Kalat was attacked with six rockets. Jam Yousuf was not home at that time. His wife, daughter of the late Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, escaped unhurt in the attack which destroyed a portion of the house.



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