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Gunmen Kill 20 At Pakistan Dam Project

Officials in Pakistan say gunmen attacked a dam construction site in southwestern Balochistan Province, killing at least 20 workers and wounding three others.

RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal quotes Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti as calling the killings a "heinous act of terrorism."

Bugti said the slayings took place at around 1:40 a.m. in the Turbat area. He said the three injured men had been taken to a hospital and are now out of danger.

It wasn't immediately clear who carried out the attack.

According to the Reuters news agency, a man claiming to speak for the banned Baluch Liberation Army told reporters by telephone that his group had murdered the workers as a reprisal for military operations in the area.

The French news agency AFP, meanwhile, quotes a spokesman for the Baluch Liberation Front (BLF), an armed group that wants the province to be "liberated" from the rest of Pakistan, as taking responsibility.

AFP says BLF spokesman Goran Baluch promised his group would carry out more violence unless the province were given independence.

Balochistan is the scene of a low-intensity insurgency by nationalist and separatist Baluch groups, who want a share of revenue from gas and mineral resources and complete autonomy from Islamabad.

It's also home to Taliban insurgents, drug smugglers, kidnapping rings, sectarian militants, and government-backed paramilitary death squads.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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    RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

    Radio Mashaal was launched in January 2010 in order to counter a growing number of Islamic extremist radio stations in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan.