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Train bomb claims 8 in Pakistan: officials Policeman killed during vaccination campaign

KARACHI, Pakistan, Feb 16, (Agencies): A bomb placed by an ethnic separatist group derailed a train in southwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing eight people, police and the militants said. Three of the dead were children and another 20 people were wounded by the blast in Kashmor district, which caused several train cars to run off the track, said police official Mohammad Azeem. Kashmor is in Sindh province but adjoins insurgency-hit Baluchistan.

One of several ethnic Baluch separatist groups operating in the resource-rich province, the Baluch Republican Army, claimed responsibility. al-Qaeda-linked militants also have a presence there. The group’s spokesman, Sarbaz Baluch, said in a phone call to The Associated Press from an undisclosed location that the attack was a reaction to what he alleged were killings in Baluchistan’s Dera Bugti region by Pakistani paramilitaries. The group also blew up three gas pipelines last week, suspending supplies to millions of household for two days. Local Pakistani TV channels showed footage of several badly damaged train cars lying off the track. Pakistani Railways Minister Saad Rafiq said officials were working to reopen the track at earliest.

Meanwhile, a bomb killed at least one policeman and wounded another during a vaccination campaign for polio and other diseases among children in Pakistan’s troubled northwest on Sunday, officials said. The incident happened in Budhni area on the outskirts of Peshawar, the gateway to the country’s restive tribal regions, where the military has been battling Taleban and al-Qaedalinked militants. “The police team was being deployed in Budhni area before the start of the campaign when a remote controlled bomb exploded near their van, killing one police official and wounding another one,” local senior administration official Zaheer-ul-Islam told AFP. A senior local police official, Faisal Mukhtar, confirmed the incident and casualties. Militant groups see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage, and there are also long-running rumours about polio drops causing infertility. More than 40 people including health workers and police officials providing security to the teams administering polio drops to children have been killed in Pakistan in different incidents of violence since December 2012

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