‘Traces of explosives’ found at Pakistan bus crash site

Local residents and rescue workers gather at the crash site (AP)
15:46pm, Thu 15 Jul 2021
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An initial investigation into a fatal bus crash in Pakistan has found “traces of explosives” at the site, raising the possibility the incident was a terror attack.

A bus carrying dozens of construction workers fell into a ravine in the district of Kohistan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday after what authorities said was a gas leak in the vehicle that caused an explosion.

At least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, were killed and at least 36 people were injured.

The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad promptly said the bus had been attacked, but without elaborating.

A Chinese national injured in the crash is helped by locals (AP)

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the incident in the northwest of the country.

Speaking after the explosives find, Pakistani information minister Fawad Chaudhry said “terrorism cannot be ruled out”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was “personally supervising all developments in this regard”, Mr Chaudhry said, adding that Islamabad was in contact with the Chinese Embassy.

Chinese engineers and construction workers are helping Pakistan build a dam in Kohistan. The bus carrying the workers was en route to the construction project when the explosion happened and the bus plunged into a ravine.

Road accidents are common in Pakistan, where motorists largely disregard traffic rules and safety standards and drive on damaged roads, particularly in the mountainous terrain in the north.

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