Following the Daesh-claimed attack, members of the Hazara minority in Quetta blocked the western bypass and set fire to tyres to protest against the killings.

A supporter of Hazara Democratic Party holds a sign during a sit-in in front of a police office to protest against a twin bomb attack in Quetta in January 2013.
A supporter of Hazara Democratic Party holds a sign during a sit-in in front of a police office to protest against a twin bomb attack in Quetta in January 2013. (Reuters Archive)

Gunmen have opened fire on a group of minority Shia Hazara coal miners after abducting them, killing 11 in southwestern Balochistan province.

Moazzam Ali Jatoi, an official with the Levies Force, which serves as police and paramilitary in the area, said the attack took place early on Saturday near the Machh coal field, about 48 kilometers (30 miles) east of the provincial capital Quetta.

Jatoi said armed men took the coal miners to nearby mountains, where they opened fire on them. He said six of the miners were dead on the spot and five who were critically wounded died on the way to a hospital.

Jatoi said an initial investigation revealed the attackers identified the miners as being from a Shia Hazara community and the gunmen took them away for execution, leaving others unharmed.

Local television footage showed security troops surrounding a desolated mountainous area diverting traffic and guiding ambulances to pick up the bodies.

Security forces were also seen spreading out in the mountains to search for the perpetrators.

“The throats of all coal miners have be en slit, after their hands were tied behind their backs and (they were) blind folded,” a security official told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he is not allowed to speak to media.

A video clip making the rounds on WhatsApp groups, apparently shot by a first responder, showed three bodies lying outside the room and the rest inside in pools of blood.

READ MORE: The trouble with being Hazara in Pakistan's Quetta city

Deash claims responsibility

The Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack that came after a relative lull in nearly a year of violence against the mainly Shia Hazara minority in the province.

In April, a market suicide bombing killed 18 people, half of whom were Hazaras.

Following Sunday's attack, members of the Hazara minority in Quetta blocked the western bypass and set fire to tyres to protest against the killings.

Baluchistan is the focus of the $60-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned between western China and Pakistan’s southern deepwater port of Gwadar.

The province has already been wracked by nationalist militant groups who also have targeted non-Baloch laborers, but they have no history of attacks on the minority Shia community.

Hazaras have been frequently targeted by the Pakistani Taliban and Daesh militants as well as other Sunni Muslim militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The attacks in Afghanistan have been claimed by an affiliate of Daesh.

In 2013, three bombings killed more than 200 people in Hazara neighbourhoods in Quetta.

READ MORE: Who are the BLA and why did they attack a Chinese consulate in Karachi?

Source: AP