Alwaght- A suicide bomber riding on a motorcycle rammed into a police truck in Pakistan’s restive southwest, killing at least 10 policemen and wounding 12 officers in one of the deadliest attacks on security forces this year.
"The suicide bomber was riding a motorbike and hit the truck from behind," senior police official Abdul Hai Aamir said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which took on a bridge in the district of Sibi, located about 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of Quetta, the provincial capital.
Ijaz Ahmad, a spokesperson for the local police, was quoted as saying in media reports that at least 10 soldiers of the paramilitary Balochistan Levies Force were killed in a blast.
Mahmood Notenzai, a local police chief, said the officers were on a routine patrol when the attack happened, adding that the officers who came under attack were deployed last week to Sibi for an annual cultural festival.
Independence-seeking Baluch separatists and local militants have been blamed for such attacks previously. They have been fighting the central government for decades, accusing Islamabad of exploiting the Balochistan province's rich gas and mineral resources.
The Baloch separatists, including the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), claim the province's rich gas and mineral resources are being plundered by the central government and they do not see profits from the region's vast resources.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the attack. In a statement, he expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and ordered health officials to provide the best medical care for the wounded policemen.
"Terrorism in Balochistan is part of a nefarious agenda to destabilize the country," Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a statement.
Billions of dollars have been invested by China in the province under the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative aimed at creating new roads and facilities in the region.
BLA and BLF often carry out small-scale attacks on security forces, pro-government leaders, and workers in the restive province,
The separatists also target development projects in Balochistan associated with the high-profile, Chinese-funded China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Islamabad blames arch-rival India for the attacks in Balochistan, claiming New Delhi is irked by Pakistan’s economic partnership with China in the region.
Last year, a suicide bomber from the Daesh terrorist group targeted Pakistani President Arif Alvi's security convoy when he attended the Sibi festival.
Alvi was far away from the site of the bombing, which killed five troops. Daesh militants later claimed responsibility for that attack.
More than 100 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on a mosque in northwestern Pakistan's Peshawar last on January 30.