QUETTA - At least nine people, including seven labourers, were shot dead and two others wounded in separate incidents in Turbat and Qilla Saifullah on Tuesday.

Later, the defunct Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) claimed responsibility for the killings in Turbat. The latest violence came, as a complete shutter-down strike was observed in the Baloch-dominated areas of the province against the recovery of bullet-riddled body of Sangat Sana Baloch, a leader of Baloch Republican Party (BRP), and other youth.

On the other hand, two more decomposed bodies of Baloch missing persons were recovered from the Lasbela district.

According to the Levies Force sources, unidentified armed men attacked a camp of labourers at the Maskan area, some 40 kilometres away from the Turbat town of Kech district. As a result, five people died on the spot and four others sustained serious wounds. The injured were shifted to Civil Hospital Turbat where two injured labourers succumbed to their injuries.

“Around eight labourers were sitting in a camp of a private construction company, which is constructing a road, when they were attacked by armed men with sophisticated weapons,” a Levies Force official told this scribe on phone, adding that the attackers also torched two vehicles and some machinery of the company before fleeing the scene. Sources said that most of the deceased labourers were settlers, a term used for those who do not belong to Balochistan.

After the incident, the local administration and Frontier Corps personnel rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area. The spokesman of outlawed BLF, Dohda Baloch, called media offices from an unknown location and claimed the responsibility for the killings.

He said besides the killings, the BLF militants had also torched four vehicles and heavy machinery of the construction company.

The spokesman said they had already warned the businessmen to avoid investing in Balochistan as it was in a state of war, adding that in these circumstances, roads were constructed for transportation of military logistics.

He warned the private companies to halt their activities in Balochistan, saying they would have to face similar attacks in case of a failure.

In another incident, two people were killed in Qilla Saifullah district, as unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire on a vehicle in the Ali Khel area, which resulted in the death of two persons, Shah Wali Muhammadzai and Muhammad Hussain. The assailants fled the scene after committing the crime.

Police said the incident was being investigated and the motive behind the killings could be some old enmity.

Tuesday was the first day of the three-day strike call given by the BRP which was also supported by other nationalist and political parties. The BRP has also announced 40-day mourning against the killing of Sana Sangat whose body was recovered from the Murghab area of Turbat on Monday.

Sangat Sana Baloch had gone missing in 2009 from Kolpur while traveling to Sibi from his hometown Mastung, where his funeral prayers were attended by a large number of people on Tuesday.

All markets, banks and business activities remained suspended, while life remained at a standstill in most parts of Balochistan. The strike was observed in Panjgur, Khuzdar, Nushki, Wadh Awaran, Suraab, Sibi, Kalat, Lasbela, Turbat, Bolan and other areas. However, partial strike was observed in Quetta.

Reacting over the abduction followed by murder of Sangat Sana, BRP Spokesman Sher Muhammad Bugti said the killing was a part of anti-Baloch policies and reaction of congressional hearing on Balochistan in the US.

BRP General Secretary Dr Bashir Azeem alleged that state intelligence agencies were responsible for the murder of Sangat Sana.

On the other hand, two more decomposed dead bodies of missing persons were recovered from the Windar area of Lasbela district.

Sources said the deceased were identified as Bakhshal Bugti and Jan Muhammad Marri, who went missing three months ago.