KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A bomb placed by an ethnic separatist group derailed a train in southwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing eight people, police and the militants said.
Three of the dead were children and another 20 people were wounded by the blast in Kashmor district, which caused several train cars to run off the track, said police official Mohammad Azeem.
Kashmor is in Sindh province but adjoins insurgency-hit Baluchistan. One of several ethnic Baluch separatist groups operating in the resource-rich province, the Baluch Republican Army, claimed responsibility. Al-Qaida-linked militants also have a presence there.
The group's spokesman, Sarbaz Baluch, said in a phone call to The Associated Press from an undisclosed location that the attack was a reaction to what he alleged were killings in Baluchistan's Dera Bugti region by Pakistani paramilitaries.
The group also blew up three gas pipelines last week, suspending supplies to millions of household for two days.
Local Pakistani TV channels showed footage of several badly damaged train cars lying off the track. Pakistani Railways Minister Saad Rafiq said officials were working to reopen the track at earliest.
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed a policeman guarding a polio vaccination drive team in the outskirts of northwestern city of Peshawar.
Police official Ibrahim Khan said another officer was wounded in the attack during the weekly anti-polio campaign in the Budhni area.
Khan said the two officers were patrolling a road leading to the suburban neighborhood where anti-polio teams were vaccinating children.
Anti-polio teams or their guards have been frequently targeted in Pakistan by Islamic militants, who say the campaigns are a tool for spying and claim the vaccine makes boys sterile.
Pakistan is one of the few remaining countries where polio persists and most cases found in its northwest, where militants make it difficult to reach children for vaccination.
No one has claimed responsibility for this incident either.
Associated Press Writer Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan and Andul Sattar in Quetta, Pakistan, contributed to this report.