QUETTA - At least four police officials, including an assistant sub inspector (ASI), were gunned down and another received serious wounds when armed men ambushed a police van in the Satellite Town area of Quetta on Saturday.

Reportedly, a police party was on its routine patrol duty in a van in the Ghousabad area within the jurisdiction of Satellite Town police when two armed men on a motorbike sprayed a volley of bullets on it. As a result, three police officials, identified as ASI Hajab Khan, and constables Abdul Jabbar and Abdur Rehman were killed instantly while constable Dastagir, the van driver, received serious wounds. The assassins fled after ambushing the police van.

Police and other law-enforcement agencies rushed to the site while Ehdi workers moved the bodies and the injured to hospital where driver Dastagir succumbed to his injuries.

“The initial investigation reports suggest the attack on the police officials a case of target killings,” a police official said, adding investigations were underway to ascertain the causes of the killings.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani denounced the incident and directed the IG police and the CCPO to immediately arrest the culprits. He also announced financial assistance of Rs 2 million for each deceased and jobs to their heirs in the police department. No group claimed responsibility for the attack on the police van immediately.

Meanwhile, police defused a 5-kg explosive device in Dera Murad Jamali. According to the police, some passersby spotted a suspicious substance and informed the police. The police and a bomb disposal squad rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area. The explosive material had been planted near the building of a government office. The bomb disposal squad defused the bomb after the struggle of one hour.