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Quetta, Pakistan - A bomb hit a passenger train in Pakistan's restive south-west on Monday, killing at least six people and wounding more than 17 others, officials said.
The device, apparently planted on the railway track, exploded when the train approached a station in the Naseer Abad district of the insurgency-hit south-western Baluchistan province.
“It was a bomb blast, the target was the passenger train. At least six people have been killed,” provincial home secretary Asad Gilani told AFP, adding that more than 17 others were wounded in the blast.
Zafar Shah Bukhari, a senior official in the area, confirmed the bomb attack and death toll.
Bukhari said the Jaffar Express was travelling from Rawalpindi to Quetta, the main town of Baluchistan province.
“We have taken the dead bodies and injured to the nearby hospital,” Bukhari said, adding that the condition of six of the injured was critical.
The explosion derailed the train, Bukhari added.
Baluch rebels have been fighting since 2004 for political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region's natural oil, gas and mineral resources.
Impoverished Baluchistan is also a flashpoint for surging sectarian violence between Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslims and Shi’as, who account for around a fifth of the country's 180 million people.