Pakistani security personnel arrive at the site of a bomb explosion in Quetta on Friday. -AFP
QUETTA, Pakistan: A bomb blast on Friday killed 10 people and wounded 31 others in Pakistan's restive southwestern city of Quetta, officials said.
City police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema said a vehicle carrying security forces appeared to have been the target of the attack, which occurred outside a college in the centre of the city.
Quetta is the capital of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, which is rife with separatist and Islamist militants and plagued by sectarian bloodshed.
"Ten people were killed and 31 injured. Around eight are in critical condition," Cheema told AFP, adding that eight to 10 kilos of explosives were used in the bomb.
Doctor Rashid Jamal at the government-run civil hospital Quetta confirmed the number of dead and wounded.
The city has been hit by numerous attacks in recent years, including two devastating bombings early last year targeting minority Shiite Muslims that killed nearly 180 people.
Baluchistan, the size of Italy and rich in copper, gold and natural gas, is Pakistan's largest but least populous province.
It is also the least developed, which has exacerbated a long-running ethnic Baluch separatist movement that wants more autonomy and a greater share of its mineral wealth.
The latest armed insurgency rose up in 2004 and separatist groups still regularly attack Pakistani forces.
Rights groups accuse the military and intelligence agencies of kidnapping and killing suspected Baluch rebels before leaving their bodies by the roadside.
Friday's attack was the deadliest attack to hit the province since January 22, when a bomb targeting a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims returning from Iran killed 24 people.
The militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), regarded as the most extreme Sunni terror group in Pakistan and accused of killing hundreds of Shiites since its emergence in the 1990s, claimed responsibility for that attack. -AFP