Five killed in Baluchistan bomb explosion

The device apparently planted on a bicycle went off during the morning rush hour at an intersection.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 13:43 IST

At least five people were killed and 17 wounded when a powerful bomb exploded on Monday outside a grocery shop in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, police said.

The device apparently planted on a bicycle went off during the morning rush hour at an intersection usually crowded with commuters, city police chief Wazir Khan Nasser said.

Witnesses said the shop and a nearby hotel were badly damaged. Blood was splattered on the floor and slippers scattered on the road, as panic gripped the area after the blast.

No one claimed responsibility. Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, is in the midst of an insurgency by militant tribesmen who want more autonomy.

"Three people died on the spot and two others expired in the hospital," Nasser said, adding that one of the dead was a woman.

At least 17 injured people have been admitted to Quetta's Civil Hospital, with at least five in a serious condition, he said.

Police and security forces have cordoned off the area and a bomb disposal squad was trying to identify the type of explosive used in the blast, Nasser said.

Citing witnesses, he said a man came to the area at about 10:30 am (0530 GMT) and disappeared after parking his bicycle. "There was a huge blast soon after he left."

A pushcart belonging to a fruit vendor was blown to pieces.

City Mayor Mir Maqbool Lehri said the blast site was very close to a police station but there were no police casualties.

Similar acts in the past have been blamed on the tribal militants and a linked rebel group called the Baluchistan Liberation Army, which was banned earlier this year.

They want a greater share of the desert province's rich oil and gas reserves and a reduction in the power of the federal government.

First Published: Jun 12, 2006 13:36 IST