The Majeed Brigade, an elite unit of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar in which Chinese nationals were targeted on Friday.
The Chinese nationals working on the under-construction East-Bay Expressway were returning to their camp when their vehicle was hit by the blast, Dawn reported.
The targeting took place along the coastal road near a fishermen’s colony.
“A young boy ran out of the colony once the convoy reached there to target Chinese vehicles,” a statement by Pakistan Interior Ministry said.
Soldiers of Pakistan army in plainclothes rushed to intercept the boy, who immediately exploded himself, about 15-20 metres from the convoy, it said.
The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan on Saturday “strongly condemned” the suicide attack, asking Pakistan “to take practical and effective measures” to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future.
The statement pointed out that the security situation in Pakistan has been severe of late as “there have been several terrorist attacks in succession, resulting in casualties of several Chinese citizens”.
The embassy reminded the Chinese citizens in Pakistan to be “vigilant, strengthen safety precautions, reduce unnecessary outings, and take effective security protections”.
China is heavily involved in the development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea as part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project.
There have been other attacks targeting Chinese nationals in the country in recent weeks.
Late last month, a Chinese engineer who had recently arrived in Karachi was shot at and wounded in a moving car by gunmen riding a motorcycle in the city’s SITE area, where he was supposed to repair imported machinery. The banned Balochistan Liberation Front had claimed responsibility for that attack.
On July 14, a bus carrying Chinese workers in the Dasu area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Upper Kohistan district fell into a ravine after an explosion, killing 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals. The blast also left 28 others injured.
After initially suggesting that the incident was an accident, the government had said earlier this month that a suicide bomber had attacked the bus which was carrying Chinese workers to the under-construction Dasu dam.