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Mine kills 30 people going to wedding in Pakistan

Associated Press
Published March 11, 2006

QUETTA, Pakistan - A crowded bus carrying a wedding party hit an antitank mine Friday in a volatile region of southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 30 people and wounding eight, a doctor and officials said.

Dr. Sher Zaman, who tended to the injured, said the dead included 21 children, five women and four men.

Officials said rescuers took the injured to hospitals as swiftly as possible in the remote, mine-laden area. Residents said no ambulances or government medical teams reached the victims until seven hours after the blast.

"I am treating the injured in an open farm field," Zaman said.

The bus had been traveling to a wedding in the town of Rakhni, officials said.

The remains of the dead were piled under bedsheets, as relatives of the bridegroom, who was among the injured, wailed and cried, said witness Shahzad Khan.

The explosion in Dera Bugti, about 180 miles east of Quetta, did not appear to be deliberate. District chief Abdul Samad Lasi blamed a local tribal militant chief, Nawab Akbar Bugti, for laying mines in the area, where ethnic Baluch tribesmen often attack security forces, natural gas plants and pipelines to pressure the government to increase royalties for gas extracted from Pakistan's poorest province.

"We have cleared the mines in many areas, but they keep adding them," Lasi said.

Bugti's spokesman, Agha Shahid, denied involvement and insisted the mines had been planted by security forces. Bugti often accuses security forces of human rights abuses and killing civilians.

Pakistan strikes militant hideout, kills 30 people

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistani soldiers backed by helicopter gunships targeted a suspected militant hideout in Pakistan's volatile tribal region near the Afghan border and killed about 30 militants, a sign of continuing tension in the region, an army spokesman said today.

Gen. Shaulat Sultan said the attack was launched late Friday near Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan and the scene of repeated clashes between security forces and militants in the past week.

[Last modified March 11, 2006, 01:44:48]

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