At least eight dead in Quetta, Pakistan blast


A Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) guerrilla fighter stands guard near a BLA camp in the scrubland of Bolan, a two-hour drive from Quetta, capital of the Pakistan province of Baluchistan.


Marc Wattrelot

At least eight people have been killed and 20 wounded in a bomb attack outside a religious school in Pakistan’s south-western city of Quetta, police say.

According to the Associated Press, the bomb – which was attached to a bicycle left outside the Jamia Islamia Maftah-ul-Uloom seminary – was detonated remotely as hundreds of students attended a degree ceremony alongside their parents and teachers. Three children were among the dead, Reuters reports.

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There has been no claim of responsibility, but Quetta – the capital of Pakistan's impoverished Balochistan province – suffers from attacks by Islamists, sectarian conflict between majority Sunni and minority Shi’ite Muslim groups, and an insurgency being waged by ethnic Baloch separatists who want greater autonomy for the region, according to the Agence France Presse.

At least 24 people were killed and scores were wounded last September when suicide bombers attacked the residence of a military official in the city.

According to the BBC, the Taliban’s “Quetta Shura” leadership – which the US claims is responsible for the direction of many insurgency operations in neighboring Afghanistan – is believed to based there, although Pakistani authorities reject this claim.

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