Islamabad, March 25 (DPA) Unknown gunmen killed eight people and kidnapped 45 in raids Friday on two minibuses in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border, officials said.
The raids occurred in the Bagan area of Kurram, one of Pakistan’s seven tribal districts and supposed safe havens of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. Kurram has also seen violence between majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims.
Israfeel Khan, a local government official, said that in the first attack, several armed men fired rockets at two vehicles that were on their way from Kurram to Peshawar, capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
“At least eight passengers were killed and 10 injured in the attack,” Khan said. “The identities of those killed are not known as yet.”
A short time later, the assailants intercepted a convoy of three vehicles in the same area and took 45 passengers hostage, he said.
“They shifted the passengers to an unknown location, and security agencies are trying to locate them,” Khan said.
The road connecting the district with Peshawar was blocked to all traffic until recently because of fighting between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
It was first major attack since the two sides struck a peace deal this year to let civilian vehicles pass from the area to other parts of the country.
No one took responsibility for the attack, but in the past, Taliban militants have targeted Shiite Muslims in the district.