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Gunmen shoot dead three coal miners in Harnai: official

QUETTA: Gunmen shot and killed three workers at a coal mine in the Harnai district of Balochistan, officials said on Sunday.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Harnai Deputy Commissioner Sohail Anwar Hashmi said the early morning violence took place in the Sharag area where most of the province’s coal mines are located.

Hashmi said the deceased belonged to Kandahar city of Afghanistan. The bodies were later taken to Rural Health Centre in Shahrag town for medico-legal formalities.

Harnai is located about 124 miles (200 kilometres) northeast of Quetta. Hashmi said counterterrorism and local police teams were searching for the assailants.

Militant groups such as Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) receiving funding from India have previously claimed responsibility for similar attacks on coal miners in the region.

In January, gunmen abducted a group of workers from a coal mine in the district of Bolan and shot them dead in a nearby mountainous area. Authorities found 11 bodies and three wounded at the site.

Later, in August, armed men had gunned down three coal miners working in the Marwar coalfield area, some 70 kilometres from Quetta.

The assailants had entered the area in the night and escaped after killing the miners. Security forces personnel deployed at the nearby check-post had gotten the information late because there was no mobile phone service in the hilly neighbourhood.

The gas- and mineral-rich province has been the scene of a low-level militancy for some years.

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