Chinese hydro power workers among 9 dead in Pakistan bus blast

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At least seven Chinese workers with a hydro power project were killed in northern Pakistan on Wednesday when a roadside bomb hit the bus carrying them, police and military sources said.

Two Pakistani workers accompanying the Chinese were also killed in the attack in the town of Dasu, near the country’s border with China, a military source said.

An improvised explosive device (IED) went off as the bus was carrying the Chinese and their Pakistani guards from Barseen camp, around 15 kilometres from Dasu.

The source said it was not immediately known if the bomb occurred inside the highly-fortified camp that included residential quarters for Chinese workers or not.

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Scores of people were injured in the attack and the death toll might rise from the nine so far, police official Mohamed Yousaf said.

Around 30 people, mostly Chinese, were on board the bus when the incident happened.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamist militants linked with the Pakistani Taliban, who were different from their Afghan counterparts, and nationalist rebels often target Chinese interests in Pakistan.

Police and security agencies have cordoned the area and officials from the bomb disposal squad were trying to determine the nature of the explosives, another police official, Zahir Shah said.

Beijing is building the Dasu hydro power project in the district of Kohistan under an investment plan that forms part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a flagship economic and infrastructure programme of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beijing is undertaking an estimated 62-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, building a network of roads and rail tracks to link its Xinjiang region with the Arabian Sea in south-western Pakistan.

The project was seen as the shortest possible inland and sea route that was meant to provide China an access to the Middle East, Europe, Africa and beyond. (dpa/NAN)

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