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Tribunal In Pakistan Probes Killings Of Foreigners In Quetta

A policeman stands stands guard after an incident in Quetta on May 17, in which five alleged suicide bombers were shot dead by Pakistani security forces.
QUETTA, Pakistan -- An inquiry has opened in southwestern Pakistan into the killing last week of five foreigners by security forces, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The investigation by a tribunal in the city of Quetta was ordered after it emerged that the five shot by Pakistan Frontier Corps (PFC) forces in a Quetta suburb on May 17 were unarmed.

Quetta City police chief Dawood Junejo initially said the five -- three women and two men -- were would-be Chechen suicide bombers wearing suicide vests.

They were shot as they approached a security post in Kharotabad. One of the women was seven months pregnant.

Officials urged residents of Kharotabad, the Quetta suburb, today to share eyewitness accounts with the tribunal.

Preliminary investigations suggest the five may have been victims of human trafficking. Local media in Quetta reported today that two people who escaped the PFC attack may be engaged in human smuggling.

RFE/RL's correspondent reports from Quetta that he saw four of the five passports belonging to the victims, which were shown on local television. The four passports were those of the Russian Federation and contained visas for Iran.

Kharotabad residents told RFE/RL that the five were not suicide bombers, but were on their way to Iran.

An elderly man who gave his name as Zubair told RFE/RL that the five "Chechens" arrived at the police squad point by taxi.

"Policemen took all their money from them [as a bribe]," he said. "Then they prayed at a mosque along with the women. Local people told them to lodge a complaint at the PFC check post against the police. The policemen, however, told the PFC people [by phone] that the five people were suicide bombers."

Another local resident, Abdul Hayat Bazayee, told RFE/RL that he had seen the five people in the village just an hour before they were killed.

"They were getting shoes for themselves, getting medicines," he said. "They also asked people for water, and then offered prayers at a mosque. They also told the village people about their travels."

The Pakistani government has suspended Junejo from the post of Quetta city police chief.