Suicide bomber kills 17 pilgrims as tribal policemen slaughtered

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A SUICIDE BOMBER driving a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a bus carrying Shiite Muslim pilgrims in south west Pakistan, killing 17 people.

Government official Tufail Ahmed said over 20 people were wounded in the attack in Baluchistan province’s Mastung district. Yesterday’s blast completely destroyed the bus that was hit and damaged a second bus carrying Shiites that was close by.

An eyewitness who was travelling in the second bus told Geo TV that the pilgrims were headed to neighbouring Iran, a majority Shiite country that is a popular religious tourism destination. Pakistan has experienced a spike in killings over the last year by radical Sunni Muslims targeting Shiites who they consider heretics, especially in Baluchistan.

Meanwhile, 21 tribal policemen believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban have been found shot dead in north-west Pakistan, government officials said.

Naveed Akbar Khan said officials found the bodies shortly after midnight local time after being notified by one policeman who had escaped. Another policeman was also found seriously injured.

Mr Khan said the killed policemen were found in the Jabai area of Frontier Region Peshawar, part of Pakistan’s troubled tribal region. The 23 policemen went missing before dawn on Thursday when militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons attacked two posts in Frontier Region Peshawar. Two policemen were also killed in the attacks.

n Pakistani authorities are investigating allegations that cough syrup has killed 33 people over the past three days, a government official said, the second time in recent months medicine is suspected of causing multiple deaths.