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5 Chinese workers killed in Pakistan suicide attack

Their vehicle plunged into deep ravine off the mountainous Karakoram Highway after bomber rammed car into them, police said
Volunteers transport the coffins of Chinese nationals from a hospital following a suicide attack in Besham city in the Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on March 26.

Volunteers transport the coffins of Chinese nationals from a hospital following a suicide attack in Besham city in the Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on March 26. (Photo: AFP)

Published: March 27, 2024 04:58 AM GMT
Updated: March 27, 2024 05:05 AM GMT

Five Chinese nationals working on a major dam construction site were killed along with their driver on March 26 when a suicide bomber targeted their vehicle in northwest Pakistan, officials said.

Their vehicle plunged into a deep ravine off the mountainous Karakoram Highway after the bomber rammed his car into them and detonated his explosives, police said.

Beijing has poured billions of dollars into Pakistan in recent years, but Chinese-funded projects have sparked resentment and their citizens have frequently come under attack.

Images shared with AFP show smoke rising from the valley, near Besham city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

"Five Chinese and their local driver were killed in the attack," Muhammad Ali Gandapur, a senior provincial police official, told AFP.

He said the vehicle was traveling between the Dasu hydroelectric dam site, under construction by the China Gezhouba Group Company, and the capital Islamabad.

Zahid Khan, a senior local police official, told AFP that "a suicide bomber crashed his vehicle into theirs".

"The vehicle caught fire and plunged down the ravine," he said.

In 2021, a bus carrying engineers to the same construction site was hit by a bomb, killing 13 people including nine Chinese workers.

The latest attack comes days after security forces killed at least seven militants as they attempted to storm the offices of Gwadar Port in southwest Pakistan, considered a cornerstone of Chinese investment.

Militants also killed one soldier as they attempted to storm a major naval air base in the country's southwest, Pakistan's military said on March 26.

"Strategic projects and sensitive sites vital for Pakistan's economic progress and the well-being of its people are being targeted as a conscious effort to retard our progress and slow discord between Pakistan and its strategic allies and partners, most notably China," the army said.

The Chinese embassy in Islamabad described the bombing as a "terrorist act" in a statement reported by Beijing's state media.

"The Chinese embassy and consulates in Pakistan strongly condemn this terrorist act, express deep condolences for the victims of both countries, and extend sincere sympathies to the families of the victims," the embassy said.

And Beijing's foreign ministry urged Pakistan to "thoroughly investigate the incident as soon as possible, hunt down the perpetrators, and bring them to justice".

"We ask Pakistan to take effective measures to ensure the safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects, and institutions in Pakistan," a spokesperson said.

The United States also condemned the attack, with State Department spokesman Matthew Miller saying: "No country should suffer acts of terror."

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