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Bombing Kills Five, Wounds Scores In Southwestern Pakistan

A roadside bomb targeted a security convoy in southwestern Pakistan on March 8, killing at least five members of the security forces and wounding 28 people, officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the district of Sibi, in Balochistan Province, which occurred shortly after a convoy carrying Pakistani President Arif Alvi passed through the area.

Alvi was in town to attend a cultural event. It wasn’t immediately known if he was the target, but the convoy was part of the security deployment surrounding the president's visit.

"The blast took place 30 minutes after President Arif Alvi attended the festival in Sibi," a senior official of the Counter-Terrorism Department Sibi, Hafeez Rind told journalists.

Local police official Wazir Murree said rescuers transported the dead and wounded to hospitals, where an emergency was declared. Muree said some of the wounded were in critical condition.

Resource-rich Balochistan, Pakistan's largest and most volatile province, borders Afghanistan and Iran.

It has been plagued by sectarian violence, attacks by Islamist militants, and a long-running separatist insurgency that has led to thousands of casualties since 2004.

Sleeper cells of the Islamic State group also have a presence in the region.

Last week, an Islamic State suicide bomber struck inside a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar during Friday Prayers, killing at least 63 worshippers and wounding nearly 200 people.

Much of the violence is seen as a reaction by separatists to China’s investment plans in the region that envisage linking Xinjiang Province with the Arabian Sea through a network of roads and rail tracks.

The proposed $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan is meant to give Beijing access to markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

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