At least five people have been killed and more than two dozen others have been injured in an attack by militants on a police office in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan.
The office of the deputy police inspector in Loralai district experienced a short period of armed upheaval on Tuesday when four assailants carrying guns and grenades attacked the building.
A group of candidates were sitting for a police entrance exam when the assault took place. Local security officials said four policemen and one of the candidates were killed.
Ataullah, a senior police officer, said that the “army, Frontier Corps and police are conducting search operations in the area” for the gunmen.
The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
Pakistan’s restive and mineral-rich Balochistan province is rife with separatist, extremist and sectarian violence and has been the scene of several bomb and gun attacks over the past years.
Balochistan was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks in late 2016, raising fears about an increasing presence of armed militants in the area, including terrorists linked to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
Baloch separatist groups and militants in the province have also been engaged in a decades-long campaign against the central government.
Despite frequent offensives by the Pakistani army, acts of terror by militants continue to target security forces as well as civilians.
Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan entered into an alliance with the United States in Washington’s so-called war on terror.
Thousands more have been displaced by the wave of violence sweeping the country.